Bits & Pieces

City of Long Beach Releases 2016 Crime Statistics

Final year-end crime statistics unveiled today indicate that the most serious crime of murders dropped by 8.3 percent in 2016, and that overall crime in the City of Long Beach remained essentially flat when compared to 2015 levels.

Total Part 1 crime in 2016 remained flat when compared with 2015, with a .01 percent slight increase. Violent Crime saw a small increase of 3.5 percent, while Property Crime saw a small decrease of 0.5 percent with notable double digit decreases in bike theft, grand theft and petty theft greater than $50. Additional crime statistics are available on the police department’s website. These statistics represent the final tallies for 2016.

Long term trends continue to show positive results with decreases in total violent crimes of more than 30 percent and murders are down over 47 percent since 1985.

In 2017, the Long Beach Innovation Team (i-team) will shift its efforts and focus on public safety, engaging the community, and supporting the Long Beach Police Department. By taking their cutting-edge approach to public safety, they will give the city the capacity to develop new strategies even as the police department continues its focus responding to and preventing crime.

“We are incredibly excited to bring the human-centered approach to public safety in Long Beach,” said Tracy Colunga, the city’s innovation team director, “We are proud to support the amazing men and women of our law enforcement community and work with community members to deploy multiple strategies that reduce crime and further enhance community-police relations.”

City, POA Reach Tentative Labor Agreement

The City of Long Beach has reached a tentative three-year agreement with the Police Officers Association (POA) to bring pay in line with other agencies competing for quality police officers. The agreement also sets a new cap for overtime hours and reforms health care costs that will provide long-term savings to the city.

Market analysis has determined that of the ten comparable agencies, Long Beach consistently ranked at the bottom and more than 10 percent behind today’s median pay for a police officer.

The last increase in compensation for Long Beach Police Officers was one percent in 2014.  Prior to that, the POA had negotiated with the city to contribute nine percent of salary as part of pension reform negotiations. 

The tentative agreement includes the following changes to address issues of recruitment and retention of police officers, as well as reducing the number of overtime hours a police officer can accrue and have employees pay more for health care costs: 

  • Three-year contract term
  • 3 percent general salary increase each year for a total of 9 percent increase over three years
  • Increase in skill pays to help the city recruit a qualified and diverse department and retain police officers
  • Decrease in the maximum number of overtime hours police officers can bank
  • Agreement to continue discussions regarding overtime assignments and modifying the police training program in order to increase the number of police officers in patrol
  • Health care reform provisions that help stabilize health benefit costs and provide long-term savings for the city.

The POA membership voted overwhelmingly to ratify the tentative agreement during the last two weeks of January. The agreement will now go before the city council for public discussion and final approval on Feb. 7.

The City of Long Beach and POA representatives held more than 13 meet and confer meetings since May 2016 prior to reaching agreement. The tentative agreement would be effective through Sept. 30, 2019.

This agreement would have a total estimated annual net fiscal impact of $6.2 million in the general fund in FY 17, and $14.3 million in the general fund at the end of the three-year agreement.

[Editor’s Note: A reader provides another perspective on the above labor agreement and crime statistics. Go to www.beachcomber.news/letters to learn more.]

Spring Class Registration

Looking for ways to grow and learn new skills this spring? Long Beach Parks, Recreation and Marine offers more than three hundred unique classes to satisfy your every hobby and interest. The Spring Recreation Connection has detailed information on courses for youth, teens, adults, and our 50+ citizens, which are offered in a variety of subjects including Art & Cultural, Dance, Music, Enrichment, Fitness, Sports, and more. Look for the Recreation Connection in the mail beginning Jan. 31 or find one in all public libraries, park community centers, and Long Beach City Hall.

New classes for preschoolers are Baby and Tot Sign Language, Spanish Parent and Me Playgroup, Movement and Me Art and Tiny Tots Soccer.

Youth can sign up for new classes including art camp focusing on desert landscapes held during spring break April 17-21; Drawing Studio, Project Based Writing and Course Play Golf.

New Adult classes include Get a Job Faster with Networking, Speaking Geek, Beauty Makeup Fundamentals. Build Your Own 72-Hour Survival Backpack, and Practical Tools for Every Parent.

It’s easy to register:

Online: Visit http:activenet.active.com/lbparks or follow the link at www.lbparks.org. Click on the “request an account” button.

By FAX to (562) 570-3113

By Mail: Send completed form and payment (with address, phone number and class #(s) on check) to City of Long Beach, 2760 Studebaker Rd., Long Beach, CA 90815

In person: Bring completed form and payment to office, Monday-Friday 8 a.m. –5 p.m. Office closed May 29. For more information call (562) 570-3111

For information on Long Beach Department of Parks, Recreation and Marine programs, call (562) 570-3100 or visit www.LBParks.org. Like us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/LongBeachParks.

Business Services Improve, Unemployment Declines

The unemployment rate in Long Beach declined from 6.2 percent in 2015 to 5.2 percent in 2016, and the median number of days it took to issue a business license declined 29 percent, from 24 days in 2015 to 17 days in 2016.

The city’s Innovation Team (i-team) partnered with several city departments to proactively listen to entrepreneurs’ needs, and work together on solutions. To help entrepreneurs navigate the process of starting a business, the City launched its new business portal, BizPort in October 2016, which helps clarify, simplify, and provide valuable resources for entrepreneurs. More than 1,465 people used BizPort in the last 30 days and nearly 350 people established accounts to track their progress on the site.

“Long Beach is growing in terms of jobs and business,” said John Keisler, Director of the Department of Economic and Property Development (EPD). “In order to continue to see growth, we must stay competitive and in-tune with entrepreneurs’ needs when developing and delivering business services.”

The unemployment rate in Long Beach reached a peak of 14.6 percent in July 2010, and has dropped steadily since that time. During this time period the City’s Pacific Gateway Workforce Investment Network provided employment services to 18,500 unemployed and underemployed residents.

Inspector Gadget, an online scheduling system, has transformed the way that commercial and residential property inspections are conducted. More than 87,000 inspections are completed annually. The online system automates maps, schedules and tracks the process of inspections, dramatically increasing efficiency. Since its launch in the summer of 2016, Inspector Gadget has had more than 3,046 requests for inspections.

The mission of the city’s Economic & Property Development Department is to create economic opportunities for workers, investors, and entrepreneurs. This begins with making it easier to start and grow a business, streamline the process for property development, and provide businesses with a skilled workforce. The department includes property development, business development and the Pacific Gateway Workforce Investment Network. Follow EPD on Facebook and Twitter @LBEconDev.

Looking For Patient & Family Council Members

Los Alamitos Medical Center announces the formation of a Patient & Family Advisory Council. The purpose of the group will be to improve quality and patient safety, improve patient outcomes, improve the patient experience, and increase employee and physician satisfaction.

“It’s exciting to be a part of the launch of this new program,” said Karen Games, RN, Senior Director of Process Improvement. “Patient and family involvement play an integral role in our patient’s plan of care; they can provide valuable insight to what works well and what may need improvement. We want to explore the entire patient experience from hospital to home.”

Perspective candidates for the program should be passionate about healthcare, respect the perspectives of others, and have a positive outlook. Constructive discussions will require listening skills as well as being able to speak comfortably in group settings. Council meetings will be held monthly and the hospital is asking for a two-year commitment. If you have been a Los Alamitos Medical Center patient or a caregiver for a Los Alamitos Medical Center patient, and would like to be a member of the Patient & Family Advisory Council, please contact Karen Games, RN at (562) 799-3284.

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