At the May 28 La Mesa City Council meeting, police chief Ed Aceves joined vice mayor Mark Arapostathis in distributing school safety-patrol awards to fifth- and sixth-graders in the La Mesa-Spring Valley School District. The honorees departed after posing for a group photo. Then, Aceves delivered his quarterly crime report.
He said the number of violent incidents dropped from 54 committed during the first quarter of 2012 to 39 incidents during the first three months of this year. The total is "the lowest it’s been in a number of years. That's the good news," said Aceves. "The problem is our property crime is going up. We really need help from all of our residents in protecting their property."
Violent crimes consisted of one rape this year; there were four last year. There were 14 robberies in the first three months of 2013; 23 during that time in 2012. In addition, there were 24 aggravated assaults this year, and 27 in 2012.
Aceves attributed the increase in property crimes to the rise in general theft, which jumped from 245 in the first quarter of 2012 to 347 during the first three months of this year. Aceves attributed the 36 percent increase in these crimes to factors such as people leaving valuables in "in plain view" in vehicles or leaving vehicles unlocked.
Also at the meeting, councilman Ernest Ewin and mayor Art Madrid talked with Aceves about Nixle, a notification system the city has used for several years. People sign up and receive email or mobile messages about criminal activity, emergencies, and street repairs.
"I enjoy knowing what's going on, especially when the [sheriff's] helicopter is sitting over my house," said Ewin. During the hearing, he held up his phone and said there was a 6:04 p.m. notice about the police and a sheriff's helicopter looking for a parolee at large around in the area around 69th Street and Suffolk Drive.
Aceves said that Nixle "saved many calls" to the police from residents asking about the helicopter in their neighborhood. He noted that the alerts are sent to 1200 registrants, an increase of 1000 people since last year.