Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) continues to see low levels of major crime, Airport Police said.
In the Part-I crime category, which includes all major crimes against persons, five aggravated assaults were reported last year at the airport, compared to four in 2007, Airport Police said. The number or reported robberies remained the same at two incidents last year, but no homicides, rapes or kidnappings were reported, police noted.
“The total of seven crimes-against-persons is remarkably low considering nearly 209,000 travelers, visitors and airport-wide workers pass through LAX on an average day,” said Airport Police Chief George R. Centeno.
Reports of property crime, which is the more common type of crime at LAX, decreased 8.6 percent from 2007, statistics show.
Centeno said much of the reduction in property crime incidents can be attributed to an “aggressive approach” to patrol, and undercover efforts directed specifically at crime problems once they are recognized. This has been made possible through a significant cooperative effort among Airport Police, the Los Angeles Police Department, airline operators and luggage vendors at monthly crime control meetings highlighting target areas, Centeno said.
“We encourage and remind passengers to keep an especially close watch on their luggage when using telephones and restrooms,” advises Centeno. “These are places where travelers are likely to become distracted. It is our experience that many initial reports of loss are later determined to be items left behind by passengers in these areas and subsequently taken by opportunistic thieves.”
One area of crime that increased last year compared to 2007 was vandalism to vehicles. Of the 7.6 million vehicles parked in LAX parking lots and structures last year, there were 62 reports of vehicle vandalism, a 44-percent increase from the previous year.
Efforts to step up patrol of Central Terminal Area parking facilities are a primary deterrent to vehicle vandalism, police said. Last year Airport Police initiated a program using officers on Segway personal transportation units, and Centeno said the program will be expanded this year to include increased patrol of parking areas.
Miscellaneous offenses, the largest single statistical category, also increased 2.7 percent to 1,548 incidents in 2008 from 1,507 in 2007, based on proactive efforts by law enforcement and federal passenger and checked-luggage screening measures, police believe.
The crime statistics cover the approximately 3,600 acres of LAX property, including passenger terminals, parking facilities, aircraft ramps, cargo areas and offices.