Terrorist attack spurred decrease in crime statewide

The Associated Press
Monday September 17, 2001

Crime rates, traffic levels drop after Tuesday’s events 

LOS ANGELES – The terrorist attacks that devastated the nation’s largest city sent California residents scurrying home, cleared the region’s congested freeways for a time and, apparently, even prompted crime rates to plummet. 

The Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department estimated crime has fallen some 50 percent below normal rates for this time of year since Tuesday’s tragedies. 

“People are coming together, and the bad guys don’t seem to be doing bad things,” Deputy David Cervantes said, noting that statistics are similar to lower winter rates. 

“I believe that it could be one of two things, it could be that people are staying home and watching their TV,” he said. “There’s (also) a sense of unity and something to look forward to and people are setting aside there difference and getting together.” 

Most precincts in the Los Angeles Police Department reported criminal activity has remained normal since Tuesday, but some stations have noted a slight decrease. 

Things have been “slower than usual” at the Police Department’s West Los Angeles station, said Sgt. Ron Bremer, who noticed that there were “fewer bodies being booked.” 

“Most of the bad guys are probably too scared to do anything with the police presence out there,” he said. 

The North Hollywood area has also been quiet since Tuesday, said Sgt. Gary Patton, who attributed the reduction to the city’s state of tactical alert. 

“Everybody seemed to be outside waving flags,” he said. “Everybody’s emotionally drain.” 

In neighboring Ventura, Kern, San Bernardino and Riverside counties, law enforcement officials say the number of reported crimes has remained the same. 

In San Francisco, complaint calls to the police were about the same as usual for a Saturday night. 

There had been 2,620 calls to the San Francisco Police Department by 7:50 p.m. Saturday, down only slightly from 2,692 calls by the same time a week earlier. 

But Sgt. Peter Thoshinski, working the phones at the city’s Southern Station, said things appeared more subdued than usual for his nightclub and warehouse district. 

“It’s a little bit slow for a Saturday evening,” Thoshinski said. 

He did mention a disconcerting incident involving one of his Pakistani officers that occurred in the days following the terrorist attack. As the officer drove to work, a fellow motorist made an obscene gesture to him and swerved to run him off the road, Thoshinski said. 

The Pakistani officer, not in his police uniform at the time, was able to avoid being hit by the irate motorist and was not injured.