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Lake Forest's Crime Problem

Data from 2011 and 2012 show that Lake Forest is not "one of the safest cities."

At his first meeting as the new Mayor of Lake Forest in 2013, Scott Voigts claimed that we are “one of the safest cities in California.”

At her last meeting as Mayor in 2012, Katheryn McCullough said we were “one of the safest cities in the U.S.”

One of the first resolutions passed by the newly sworn city council in December began with these words: “Whereas Lake Forest is one of the safest cities in the U.S.”

What do all these three statements have in common? They are lies!

A few months ago I wrote an article entitled “How Safe is Lake Forest?” which said that:

“Despite what you’ve been told by our highly paid City Manager and by the City Council members, Lake Forest is not among the safest cities in America. In fact, it’s not even among the safest cities in Southern California.”

I followed that article with statistics from 2008 and 2009 on the crime rates for 9 cities managed by the OC Sheriff’s Department (OCSD), and the findings were –

• On serious Part 1 crimes (e.g., homicide, forcible rape, assault, robbery, auto theft, larceny, and burglary) Lake Forest had the 7th highest crime rate in 2009 and 6th highest in 2008.

• On lesser Part 2 crimes (e.g., forgery & counterfeiting, stolen property crimes, vandalism, prostitution, sex offenses, offenses against child, liquor violations, DUI) Lake Forest had the 7th highest crime rate in 2009 and 8th highest in 2008.

• In terms of clearance rates (solving crimes) in 2009, Lake Forest ranked 5th in clearing Part 1 crimes and 4th in clearing Part 2 crimes.

Coming in with the 7th highest crime rates among 9 cities managed by the same police force is not exactly a sterling record. And it hardly qualifies us for “one of the safest cities in the U.S.” much less in California when we are not even one of the safest cities in Southern California.

The key dates of 2008 and 2009 were chosen because these were the last dates that the OCSD published online. But I wondered how we were doing lately, so I put in a request for public records information and the OCSD was nice enough to comply and send me the data for 2011 and 2012.

The two big questions:

• Are we having more or less crime now and are we doing a better or worse job catching the criminals?

• How do we stand on a comparative basis? Are we still among the highest in crime and only average in clearance?

Part 1 (Serious) Crimes

Data for 2011 and 2012 were remarkably similar for all 10 cities so I combined the data. Here is the crime rate per 100,000 people for those two years for Part 1 crimes.

Rancho Santa Margarita, 778
Laguna Woods, 813
Aliso Viejo, 957
Laguna Niguel, 1,207
Mission Viejo, 1,371
LAKE FOREST, 1,440
San Clemente, 1,451
San Juan Capistrano, 1,716
Laguna Hills, 1,931
Dana Point, 2,016

Among the 10 cities, Lake Forest had the 6th highest crime rate for Part 1 crimes. In 2009 we had 1,370 crimes per 100,000 people compared to 1,440 in 2012, so we show a 5 percent increase in the number of crimes, but on a comparative basis, we were 7th in 2009 and in 2011-2 we were 6th. A slight improvement on a comparative basis, but nothing to brag about, and far more worrisome is the 5 percent increase in serious crimes.

Part 2 Crimes

Here’s the data for Part 2 crimes per 100,000 people –

Laguna Woods, 659
Laguna Hills, 1,118
Aliso Viejo, 1,635
Rancho Santa Margarita, 1,696
Mission Viejo, 1,964
San Clemente, 2,466
LAKE FOREST, 2,650
Laguna Niguel, 2,820
San Juan Capistrano, 3,347
Dana Point, 3,594

Among the 10 cities, Lake Forest had the 7th highest crime rate for Part 2 crimes. In 2009 we had 2,786 crimes per 100,000 people compared to 2,650 in 2012, so we show a 5 percent decrease in the number of crimes. On a comparative basis, we were 7th in 2009 and in 2011-2 we were 7th again.

Part 1 and Part 2 Combined

If we combine the Part 1 and Part 2 crimes, Lake Forest comes in with the 7th highest crime rate among the 10 cities, at 4,090 crimes per 100,000 for 2011-12. Laguna Woods has the lowest rate at 1,472 crimes per 100,000 and Dana Point comes in last at 5,610.

The average for the 10 cities served by OCSD is 3,563 crimes per 100,000. Interestingly enough this is nearly 10 percent higher than the average national crime rate for 2011 which was 3,295. Extrapolating this, the crime rate for Lake Forest is much higher not only than most cities in Southern California, but for most cities in the U.S.

• 3,295 – National crime rate
• 3,563 – Average crime rate for 10 Southern California cities
• 4,090 – Crime rate in Lake Forest

Summary

With respect to crime rate, we continue to have among the highest crime rates per 100,000 people for 10 cities managed by the OCSD, whether we look at Part 1 or Part 2 or both. Moreover our comparatively poor performance remains the same when we compare 2008-9 with 2011-2. Our crime rate in Lake Forest is 14 percent higher than the average for the 10 cities in Southern California and we are the 7th  highest out of 10.

When 2008-9 is compared with 2011-2 we show a 5% increase in Part 1 (serious) crimes and a 5 percent decrease in Part 2 crimes.

When looked at from a national perspective, our combined crime rate of 4,090 crimes per 100,000 is 24 percent higher than the average crime rate for the U.S.

Clearly, our Mayors and our City Council are not telling us the truth about crime in Lake Forest.

In our next blog we’ll look at the clearance rate and then discuss some of the implications. Meanwhile it would be nice if our city council members and the city staff refrained from telling us and the world that we are among the safest cities in the U.S.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

JustUs January 28, 2013 at 08:55 PM
"Using strictly per capita data to compare small towns to big cities doesn't give a clear picture of our actual safety." That statement makes no sense, Sharlene. If 1 in every 500 citizens is a victim of an armed robbert, for instance, in both a big city or in a smaller town - your risk of getting strongarmed is the SAME in either location. Now it may be higher on one side of the railroad tracks in the small town, or in the south side of the big city - but the risks are the same. I'm surprised you didn't learn that in your college statistics class. "BTW- My noting of crime rates being higher by the freeway is based on the crime reports posted by the Patch. Nothing else. I am not sure what you are trying to infer with your "land of free expression" comment. Care to enlighten me?" Yes, dear. it's critical that all of us be politically correct and not make waves. Ignore that $16.5T in debt that is being forced on your generation too! hah! "I am so glad you picked up on the fact that I like wool pulled over my eyes! Isn't that why people live in South OC? To make sure they have no grip on reality whatsoever?" I don't quite understand your point here, Sharlene. You're not being very clear. But the main point in Jim's article is that LF residents are being lied to about the safety aspect of the city, specifically that the city is NOT as safe as it's represented to be by city government. Do you like being lied to??? YES or NO answer please! Thanks!
Sharlene Earnshaw January 28, 2013 at 08:59 PM
Jim- I really do appreciate what you are trying to say. You want us to have lower crime and you are basing your argument on neighboring cities in South OC. It makes sense. And I agree that our city should be striving for lower numbers. I think where we differ on opinion is whether or not our government is trying to dupe us with the safest city title. I think they are mostly using the title for branding and not to lull the citizens into a false sense of security. I have only lived in Lake Forest for a few years and have been very impressed with the city as a whole thus far. I am sure much of the cities success can be contributed to concerned and thoughtful citizens such as you. We should hold our standards high and hope we continue to do so. It is always good to have people such as yourself reminding us of that.
JustUs January 28, 2013 at 09:05 PM
"These cities typically have very high crime rates because they are very big, so when two small fries (like MV and LF) are tossed into the pan, they look very good in comparison because, generally speaking, the larger you are the higher your crime rate." Not always. Gary, Indiana and many other 'small' cities have god-awful crime rates. Most of the crime in the big cities occur in specific areas of that city - just like much of the crime in Lake Forest happens in certain sections of Lake Forest. I would like more discussion about why that is. But everyone avoids it like the plague in our politically correct society. "Do we really care that our crime rate is less than Baltimore? I think the more important question is how do we compare to our neighbors, and that is the basis of this study." Excellent point. And this is what Sharlene is missing. The bigger point that she is missing is that her government leaders are not being honest with her. That should be of the utmost concern. "More importantly, when you combine statistics from vastly different police department you are subject to error because very few police departments work in an identical manner." Phooey. A DUI arrest is a DUI arrest, no matter where it happens. The reason the stats vary from PD to PD is because the numbers are being gamed by someone to push a particular agenda. They lie just the like pols lie.
Sharlene Earnshaw January 28, 2013 at 09:08 PM
JustUs- Your last comments have confirmed to me that there is no point in trying to have a rational discussion with you so I won't try to.
Jim Gardner January 28, 2013 at 09:09 PM
Hi Anonymous Blogger Using the Name "Paying Attention" The mistake you make is to think that the number 1440 is the number of crimes. I don't know why you think that is the case because it is pretty clear that 1440 is the crime rate which factors in population, and moreover I made it clear that I had combined 2011 and 2012 to produce this number. Non ne else apparently made this mistake. Are you paying attention? My report is based on the data provided by OCSD for the 10 cities they manage in Southern California. I can't tell you what City.Data.com reports. Here is the data from OCSD for 2011 - Homicide 2, Forcible Rape 1, Robbery 22, Assault 64, Residential Burglary 88,Nonresidential Burglary 52, Larceny 763, and Motor Vehicle Theft 44. That comes to 1036. Here is the data from OCSD for 2012 - Homicide 0, Forcible Rape 8, Robbery 20, Assault 79, Residential Burglary 146,Nonresidential Burglary 81, Larceny 798, and Motor Vehicle Theft 63. That comes to 1195 The population of Lake Forest I used from the City's website was 77,490. Now go do the math and then comeback and tell us what you found. My study compares us with geographically and demographically similar cities that use the same police force. Perhaps in your wisdom you'd like to compare us to Baltimore and Detroit, which is what the City does.
Terry Anderson January 28, 2013 at 09:13 PM
Everyone agrees that public safety is a top priority when running a city. Until you reach zero, crime can always be lower but I am getting the impression you are playing “fast and loose” with statistics. As Sharlene states, “safest city” statistics are based on population so if a city makes the claim to be one of the “safest in the US”, I don’t believe they are being disingenuous, rather, they are honestly quoting fact as calculated. Here is the list of “safest” and “most dangerous” cities in the US with population 75,000 to 99,000 (out of the 134 city sample chosen) as quoted by CQ Press from FBI data (http://os.cqpress.com/citycrime/2011/cc1112.htm): Cities of 75,000 to 99,999 population (134 cities) Lowest Crime Rate Ranking 1. Fishers, IN 2. O’Fallon, MO 3. Mission Viejo, CA 4. Ramapo, NY 5. Newton, MA 6. Colonie, NY 7. Clarkstown, NY 8. Allen, TX 9. Lake Forest, CA 10. Edmond, OK Highest Crime Rate Ranking 1. Flint, MI 2. St. Louis, MO 3. Oakland, CA 4. Cleveland, OH 5. Jackson, MS 6. Newark, NJ 7. Richmond, CA 8. New Orleans, LA 9. New Haven, CT 10. Little Rock, AR You state that Lake Forest has a higher crime rate than the National Average: "Extrapolating this, the crime rate for Lake Forest is much higher... • 3,295 – National crime rate • 3,563 – Average crime rate for 10 Southern California cities • 4,090 – Crime rate in Lake Forest" Can you give source data on these statistics?
Jim Gardner January 28, 2013 at 09:21 PM
Hi Sharlene There is a great website http://www.spotcrime.com/ where you can go and put in our zip code and they will send you everyday a list with a map of where crime occurs. My bet is that you are probably right for some kinds of crimes, but not necessarily for all crimes. I think it would be very valuable if the City did an extensive study of just this issue. This type of research I am suggesting would be done if we thought we had more crime than we should have, but not if we are "one of the safest cities in the US". Who needs to study crime when we are so crime free? This is one of the reasons I get so upset that the City tries to mask the reality. I'm not saying that we need to go out and buy shotguns, but we do have a lot more crime in our city than we are being told, and the Police won't get a mandate to do a better job if we continue to drone on about how we are "the safest". We are not. So let's do more, study more, and do a better job. BTW - this is by no means a criticism of the police. In the past I have worked with Police departments and I have respect for the police. And all my interactions (as few as they have been) with the police in Lake Forest have been positive.
JustUs January 28, 2013 at 09:24 PM
"Everyone agrees that public safety is a top priority when running a city." Yes, public safety is. But not $100,000 plus pensions @ age 50 or 55. That was NEVER part of the deal when I was a young man. Never. That is how 'public safety' has changed. Now they expect to get paid like medical doctors and retire earlier than an oncologist with a larger guaranteed retirement payout. It's completely out of control and everyone knows it. Nobody is government has the courage to say it. That's the problem with 'public safety' nowadays. I have a response to the rest of your statement but this is Jim's baby so I defer to him.
JustUs January 28, 2013 at 09:29 PM
"JustUs- Your last comments have confirmed to me that there is no point in trying to have a rational discussion with you so I won't try to." Personally, I think that's a cop out, Sharlene. If you had an intelligent response to challenge my assertions why wouldn't you deliver it? Afterall, this is a discussion board where we share ideas. When people start invoking the "rational discussion" argument to cease the sharing of ideas it doesn't pass my stink test. Sorry.
Sharlene Earnshaw January 28, 2013 at 09:36 PM
You are just looking for an argument. Not a discussion. Your insults and condescending tone are not appreciated. I am sure you will dying to have the last word so I will let you have it. Just know my decision not to engage you further has everything to do with intelligence.
Jim Gardner January 28, 2013 at 09:37 PM
Hi Terry, My study is based on comparing geographically and demographically similar cities that are managed by the same police force. There really is no better way to analyze crime statistics than this. The other studies you refer to and that the City uses are fraught with problems, not the least of which is that different police departments have different ways or reporting crime, different priorities, etc. Another problem is that even when you have cities of similar sizes, when they are geographically and/or demographically different there is another source of error built in which cannot be discovered when using nomothetic measures. I spent a dozen years teaching research design at major Universities, am a Fellow of various learned societies, and in my career authored dozens of research articles. I've also worked with Police Departments and with the DEA. I'm not asking you to accept what I say because of my credentials, but you also should realize that I have a lot of experience in social science research, so my approach in this case is hardly naive. I believe the City has been disingenuous when they say we "are one of the safest cities in the U.S." More than two years ago I sent the City Manager and the Council a long report, with my 2008-9 statistics, and urged them that if they wanted to hold on to the "safest city" title, they at least modify it to reflect what you've reported. But they did not and continue not to do so.
Sharlene Earnshaw January 28, 2013 at 09:40 PM
Thanks Jim. I signed up for alerts on Spotcrime.com . That "other" category is pretty vague. I am sure it would be interesting to see what "other" reasons my neighbors are calling the police for. :)
JustUs January 28, 2013 at 09:43 PM
"You are just looking for an argument" That is inaccurate and untrue. If I agree with something I will say it. If I disagree with something, likewise, I will say it. That has been quite obvious if you read my comments to Jim Gardner. In normal discussions, if someone disagrees with a comment they will explain why. They don't just run away or invoke the "rational discusssion" clause. "Just know my decision not to engage you further has everything to do with intelligence." That's fine. And that's YOUR choice. Just don't claim you ceased the discussion because I was being irrational without giving any further explanation. That, IMO, is disingenuous. Enjoy your day.
Jim Gardner January 28, 2013 at 09:44 PM
Hi Terry, Me again. I wanted to ask you what you thought was wrong with comparing Lake Forest with the 10 cities that surround us and are managed by OCSD. Don't you believe that in such a comparison we should come out well? After all, we spend 37% of our City budget on police services, and as I know you believe, public safety is probably job #1 for a city council. When we look at our neighbors in nearby cities, why should our crime rate be so much higher? On a comparative basis, wouldn't you like us to be #1 or #2? Wouldn't you like us to at least be in the top half? The bottom line to what I am saying is that the City is telling us we are "among the safest cities in the U.S." and yet our crime rate is higher than most of our neighboring cities. Let's stop tooting our own horn and talkng about what a great job we are doing and do a better job. Our neighbors are doing a better job. If we put our energies to work, we can do a better job too.
Chuck Zimmerman January 28, 2013 at 10:01 PM
Try telling a family member of a boy who was murdered in Mission Viejo that Mission Viejo is third safest city on the list...does it really matter then?
JustUs January 28, 2013 at 10:13 PM
Jim, face it. These folks seemingly have some turf to protect. So concurring that the representation that LF is rated as one of the safest cities in California and the nation is false would be forbidden. Most people root for the home team and protect it at all costs. These are the same people who spoke "family values" and "save the children" from one side of their mouths and did not object when the introduction of a gambling house in LF was placed on the table. heh. See it all for what it is. :^)
JustUs January 28, 2013 at 11:32 PM
Jim, I would hope that Terry offers a response. You were kind enough to answer his questions and his allegation that you were being 'fast and loose' with your statistical analysis. And I feel your explanation was clear and thorough, as opposed to vague. As a matter of consideration I think a response is warranted. Just my opinion.
M.K. January 29, 2013 at 01:07 AM
Wow, I am stunned to see how much time people are spending on these comments! Perhaps those who are unhappy with the supposed crime situation can stop wasting their time on their computers, get up off their butts, get out there and volunteer and make this world a little bit better! Such negativity....be positive! :)
JustUs January 29, 2013 at 04:20 AM
Ideas are really important things, M.K. They put men on the moon. They wipe out disease. They make life comfortable and enjoyable for we human beings. And ideas help pave the way for change when necessary. If you don't like ideas - don't read them. Just "get off your butt and go volunteer" if that's what makes you happy. Okie dokie? Jim Gardner often comes up with very enlightening blogs and this is just another one to add to his portfolio. Perhaps something will come of it......perhaps not. But at least it's not a secret anymore. And that is more than half the battle - pulling the cat out of the bag for all to see. And I thank Jim Gardner for having the courage to do so, even if it may make him unpopular with some detractors.
Jim Gardner January 29, 2013 at 11:13 AM
Hi M.K. I agree with you that we can all "get out there and volunteer and make this world a little bit better". Among many other things, as a Board member of my HOA I have been busy in the past year working with the Police trying to reduce crime in the Village Pond Park area. My wfe and I spend countless hours getting pet food which we distribute to hundreds of people who are having difficulty in these hard economic times. etc. But these individual activities pale in comparison with what can be done by a City to better the lives of their citizens. Hopefully stories and comments in the media will influence our public officials to be more proactive and to focus their energies. Because my blog on crime was so long I had to break it up into pieces, and so Part 1 which just appeared does tend to focus on the data and some of my positive recommendations had to be saved for later. But the comments here have been helpful and I am busy changing my next blog as a result of input here. So that's a good thing. Also, it has occurred to me that with the rise in the percent of the City's budget going into public safety (an increase of nearly 20% in the past decade), and the recent rise in Part 1 (serious) crimes, we are paying more and getting less. This suggests we might want to consider a Public Safety commission to work with the Police, City, and community to come up with better ways to utilize our scarce dollars. That would be very positive indeed.
JustUs January 29, 2013 at 04:45 PM
"Also, it has occurred to me that with the rise in the percent of the City's budget going into public safety (an increase of nearly 20% in the past decade), and the recent rise in Part 1 (serious) crimes, we are paying more and getting less." Jim, so logically one has to ask himself why we are spending 20% more for public safety and "getting less" in return. So what has changed? Well, we know that the 3%@50 retirement formula for OCSD took effect at about the turn of the century, don't we? The OC Register showed a breakdown of how many OCSD retirees are collecting higher than $100,000 pensions. Hundreds. In 2009 the County spent about $60M on County retirees who collect pensions of $100,000 or more. OCSD retirees accounted for a full THIRD of that payout, or about $20M. And that was 3-4 years ago. You can imagine how much it is in 2013 dollars! And CalPERS data shows what retired cops actually live as long or longer than non-public safety retirees. According to CalPERS the average lifespan of public safety retirees was 81. So they can retire as early as 50. But let's say one doesn't retire until that ripe old age of 55 (when everyone else has to work until 67 or older). Based on the data that's 25 years of drawing these massive pensions with COLA and subsidized medical care. Do the math. One doesn't have to be a police detective to understand why the cost of public safety is going up while we get less in return.
Jim Gardner January 29, 2013 at 05:35 PM
Hi JustUs I believe you are correct that the pension system for OC is responsible for the increase in our spending on police services. I doubt seriously that we are getting 20% more service for the 20% increase in our budget, although I don't know that for a fact. The bottom line is that police services are more expensive because of the pension system which pays out enormous retirement salaries to police officers, sometimes giving them more in retirement than they earned while working. And that expense has to be borne by the cities. In my next article I will be talking about crime solving and when I compared 2008-9 with 2011-12 I found that we were doing slightly worse. So we are spending more, having more crimes, and solving them less often. Not a good situation. I don't bring this up to alarm anyone, but from a public safety POV I think this requires some attention by the City. There are many things we could do to improve the situation, but claiming we are "one of the safest cities in the U.S." doesn't help.
Terry Anderson January 29, 2013 at 05:42 PM
Jim, I do not think there is absolutely anything wrong with comparing our crime statistics to those of our adjacent neighbor cities. My point is the statement used by several So Cal cities that they are one of the "safest cities in America". I believe the stats support that statement. We are, in fact, one of the safest cities in the US (based on cities of 75,000-99,000 as cataloged by FBI data). The statement is true, but by no means does it mean we can let down our guard and believe the world we live in (even little ol' Lake Forest) is crime-free. That is the only point I am making.
JustUs January 29, 2013 at 06:11 PM
Thank you, Jim Gardner, for the time and effort it takes for you to compile this informaton and deliver it to the reader. It is SO important for someone to shine a light on these problems - so that people UNDERSTAND the problems so that solutions are possible. If you weren't so diligent and generous with your knowledge and time, none of this would get exposed. People would simply believe the bogus information that we are fed. You are a real asset to the City of Lake Forest. And I am on the edge of my seat waiting for your next blog. I learn a great deal from you.
Jim Gardner January 29, 2013 at 08:55 PM
Hi Terry, We agree completely! If the city and council used such measured statements I couldn't complain. In fact I urged them to do that. But they chose to use the distorted version which suggests we are better than we are and then we can rest on our laurels. One of the major correlates of crime is city size. When cities are grouped by size, the results favor the smaller cities. By luck, when you put us in a sample where the smallest size is 75,000 we look pretty good because we are just 77,000. It has little to do with our crime rate per se and a lot to do with the fact that generally speaking the larger you are the higher your crime rate. If you put us in with cities that range from 10,000 to 100,000 we would look pretty bad, because all those small cities would have lower crime rates and we would look like Baltimore in comparison. This is the problem with the research that the City uses. Our small size makes us look better than we are because we are compared to cities that are much bigger. The method I use is much preferable because it has cities of comparable size, some a little bigger (MV) and some a little smaller (LN, SC) and with smilarities in geography and demographics you have some real comparisons that can be made. Throw in the same Police dept and this is high quality stuff. I know public safety is one of your concerns, and I believe my research indicates we need to take a closer look at what we are doing and do a better job.
JustUs January 29, 2013 at 09:49 PM
And we've discussed this phenomenon before, Jim Gardner. That old tried and true saying that is taught in most American business schools "Figures don't lie. Liars figure". For the life of me I just can't understand why those who have at least graduated from high school in America are unable to grasp the simple concept that you are conveying here. I understood it from the start and I'm no brain surgeon. My guess is that people only see what they want to see and refuse to accept the simple truth. If all towns with a population larger than 10,000 and less than 100,000 were grouped together Lake Forest would probably end up the top 25 percentile of those with the highest crime rates. Mission Viejo has about 20,000 more residents than does Lake Forest. Yet according to the numbers Mission Viejo has less crime than LF does! And since the same agency polices both cities it's a clear indication that there is some variable in Lake Forest that results in a higher crime rate. Why is it so taboo to determine what that factor is and try to mitigate it??? How could Lake Forest be one of America's safest cities when it doesn't even rank as one of the safest cities in the 10 Orange County cities that OCSD patrols? This is why problems continue to fester without resolution, Jim. People willfully tie blindfolds across their eyes and put plugs in their ears and then say "I can't see you. I can't hear you. Whatever you say I will ignore." Such insanity!
Jim Gardner January 29, 2013 at 10:02 PM
HiJustUs, You make an excellent point. One that I haven't made myself. In crime studies, size of city is a major determinant of crime rate- the bigger the city the higher the crime rate. There are other factors of course, like demographics (older people usually commit fewer crimes, richer people too), geography (colder climates usually have lower rates), etc. But size is the big one. Since MV has 93,000 vs. our 77,000 you'd expect their crime rate to be higher than ours, but it isn't. We are 4090 per 100,000 and they are only 3335 per 100,000. We are right next door, have the same police force, etc. and their much larger size should give them a higher crime rate, but it doesn't. This is just another indication that we should be doing a better job in our City. Thanks for pointing it out.
JustUs January 29, 2013 at 10:26 PM
Thanks, Jim. I'm not the sharpest tool in the shed, but once every decade or so I have a moment of brilliance. I would love to hear Terry Anderson's explanation for MV having less crime than LF, even though MV is about 20,000 residents larger. Also, we have discussed before, it's not uncommon for crime (sometimes serious crime) committed in LF not being reported by the media. This is disturbing since it gives people a false sense of security. People may let their guard down while taking a stroll around the neighborhood after dark without knowing there was an armed robbery of a neighbor in the same area a few nights before. That is VERY scary! All of us know that in a typical American neighborhood that people do not actively communicate with each other on a routine basis. Oh, you may know your neighbors a few doors down - but not the next street down. This is a problem. Without crimes being reported by the media we are kept in the dark. Read the LF crime blotter sometime. The crimes listed are a farce. It's very hard to believe that more serious crimes take place that aren't being reported.
Jim Gardner January 30, 2013 at 12:19 PM
Hi JustUs, When I publish these types of stories I get lots of e-mails telling me about crime in people's neighborhoods. Mostly car and home robberies, but also the occasional assault or narcotics violation. In the last few days I heard about problems around Mountain View Park, Village Pond Park, and Lake 2. Our city has more than 3,000 crimes each year, more than 1,000 of which are serious or Part 1 crimes. That doesn't factor in the number of crimes that go unreported. Tomorrow I will report data on solving crime. You won't be happy. The more I study this and the more people write to me I am convinced that we need to do something affirmative about crime in Lake Forest. No, we don't need to issue shotguns to everybody, but our new Mayor Scott Voigts said he was interested in expanding the "Neighborhood Watch" program and I'd like to endorse his suggestion wth this major caveat - let's research our effectiveness with this program and do a thorough evaluation before we expand it. (Scott - if you're reading this, I'd be more than happy to assist)
JustUs January 30, 2013 at 04:36 PM
Most everything the government does is reactionary, Jim. And even when they react more than half the time they get that wrong. Look at the tragic Sandy Hook shooting in CT. Instead of addressing mental illness (the common denominator to all these mass killings) or reforming the 'war on drugs' (which is responsible for about 80% of the 11,000 gun murdrer annual in the nation), or looking at the violence on screen that Hollywood pushed on the public (have you watched the violence depicted in Saturday morning cartoons to the children on Saturday morning lately or the video game violence any 10 year old can buy at the store?) all the hand-wringing politicians focus primarily on a style of guns that aren't even used in most of the nation's murders!) It's no different on the local level, Jim. They ban all sex offenders from parks when most sex offenders aren't pedophiles, haven't reoffended and certainly never violated anyone in a park!!! And then they reverse the ruling, not because the ruling itself never made any sense from the start, but only because they were afraid of losing money in lawsuits!!! hah! And then they act so concerned about 'family values' and the 'safety of the children' and then turn around and approve a gambling house in Lake Forest that will certainly attract criminal elements and where dads will lose their paychecks betting the ponies and have nothing left to feed, clothe or provide shelter for little Timmy or Suzy. It's nuts, JIm. Truly It is!

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