The 50 square miles patrolled by the Devonshire Division of the Los Angeles Police Department saw a reduction of 3.4 percent in violent and serious property crimes in the last year. Combined with the year before, the number of crimes fell by 18.5 percent in two years.
"That is an amazing feat," said Capt. Kris Pitcher, commanding officer of the Devonshire area. "Other divisions don't share the success that we share."
Overall, violent crimes were down 18.3 percent from last year; property crimes fell 2.1 percent. Pitcher said his goal was to reduce crime in 2013 enough to be able to claim a 20 percent overall reduction in a three-year period.
Pitcher's year-end summary of crimefighting in the northwest part of the Valley was delivered to nearly 100 residents attending the 2012 State of Devonshire semi-annual district meeting held Thursday night at World Vision Church, 19514 Rinaldi St., Porter Ranch.
Pitcher was joined at the meeting by City Councilman Mitch Englander, Assistant Bureau Chief Frank Bush of the Department of Building and Safety, Deputy City Attorney William Larsen and Tom Rothman of the city planning department.
The commanding officer said last year's improved figures were all the more remarkable because some types of crime in the Devonshire area had trended upward in the first four months of 2012. Burglary, for example, had increased 46 percent in the first four months but declined greatly the rest of the year. As a result, the number of burglaries in 2012 was 11 percent below the number in 2011 (1,079 compared to 1,214).
In particular, Pitcher pointed to the 6.8-square mile area bordered by Balboa on the west, the 405 on the east, Devonshire on the north and Roscoe on the south, which had accounted for 35 percent of all crime in the division. Last year, crimes in that area dropped by 7.2 percent.
"These measures are not an accident," Pitcher said. "They are from the hard work of everyone here."
The nettlesome question of illegal boarding houses and the effort to rein them in through the proposed Community Care Facilities Ordinance was an undercurrent through the entire 90-minute meeting. Bush and Larsen explained their roles in enforcing existing municipal codes, including checking out potential violations caused by lighting, noise, illegal businesses and trash and debris.
Englander gave a summary of city efforts to ban boarding houses in areas intended for single families and said the next step for the Community Care Facilities Ordinance may be a hearing before the entire City Council later this month or next.
In addition, he linked last month's quadruple homicide in Northridge to the squalid conditions of the illegal boarding house at which the murders occurred. "I have no doubt it would not have happened except for there being an illegal house," he said. "You wouldn't house an animal in conditions like this."
Outside, several small groups of protesters held banners assailing the proposed ordinance. Inside, though, none of the few people with comments or questions at the end of the meeting spoke directly about the measure.
Senior pastor Alex Kim of the World Vision Church provided the invocation.