Feb. 19, 2020
The overall crime rate in Lakewood dropped just over 7 percent in 2019 from 2018.
Lakewood Police Chief Mike Zaro reported the news to the City Council at its Feb. 10, 2020 regular meeting as part of the department’s fourth quarter reporting.
Property crime saw the largest decline in 2019; it went down 14.6 percent from 2018.
The Lakewood Police Department attributes this to a number of factors including a dedicated effort by the department to target retail theft in Lakewood and stepped up bicycle patrols through Lakewood Towne Center during the busy holiday shopping season. The improved economy is also likely a factor, according to Zaro.
The two most common property crimes reported in Lakewood in 2019 were shoplifting and theft from motor vehicles. These incidents were largely concentrated around Lakewood’s primary shopping areas and apartment complexes where numerous vehicles are parked outside in close proximity to each other.
In response, the Lakewood Police Department will step up public education in 2020 to remind people about the importance of always locking a vehicle and not leaving any belongings inside a car – whether they contain valuables or not.
“Preventing property crimes is definitely a team effort. Through the combined efforts of both the department and the community we are confident we can drive these numbers down even lower,” Zaro said.
While crime statistics fluctuate due to varying factors, the long-term trend in Lakewood is that overall crime continues to be on the decline.
During the Feb. 10 council meeting Councilmember Paul Bocchi noted statistics over the last couple of years only tell part of the story. A look at crime rates going back to incorporation in 1996 shows a precipitous drop in the city’s overall crime rates.
So where does that leave Lakewood in comparison to other cities?
While it is hard to make “apple to apple” comparisons due to different crime reporting statistics and population changes – Lakewood’s population has remained relatively flat while other jurisdictions have grown significantly – Lakewood is “in the middle of the road,” Zaro said.
“We’re less than Tacoma, Puyallup and Fife,” he said referring to property crime rates. “We’re on a really good path and all the things we have done over the years have helped to get us here.”