Burbank Police Response Times Improve Despite Staffing Challenges

 

Even with less man power, crime is down in Burbank, even as officers respond to more calls for service, and in a quicker fashion, officials reported Tuesday.

 

“We’re trending very well,” said Interim Police Chief Scott LaChasse. “Sometimes it’s not the numerics — how many you’ve got — it’s how smart you are about deploying them.”

The department lost three positions this fiscal year — a school resource officer, police lieutenant and police cadet — and added two police officers to respond to mental health-related calls.

The city saw a 2% decrease in serious crime — including burglary, theft, domestic violence and assault — and a 12-second reduction in emergency response times since last year for a new average of 3 minutes, 37 seconds, officials reported.

Over the last five weeks, police shed another 30 seconds off emergency response times, to an average 3 minutes, 5 seconds.

For all other calls, average response times dropped by a minute to 19 minutes, 15 seconds.  The average response time over the last five weeks, though, diminished to 16 minutes, 45 seconds.

The number of dispatch radio calls, meanwhile, have increased 5% to 41,040 this year compared to last, LaChasse said.

LaChasse credits the progress to a increased emphasis on predictive policing, deploying extra police resources to problem areas and public outreach efforts for crime prevention.

“It’s much easier and it’s better public policy to prevent something from happening than for us to have to react and arrest somebody and go through the investigative process and the prosecution process,” he said.

LaChasse also praised the community’s vigilance, noting that residents frequently report suspicious activity.

In spite of the personnel restructuring, the department’s overall budget increased $3.3 million to $48.8 million this fiscal year compared to last year — a product of rising salary and pension costs, officials said.

Police services make up about a third of the city’s $150-million General Fund budget, which pays for most public services.

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