Culver City Action Network questions police department press release spike

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The Culver City Action Network (CCAN) posted a video on their Facebook page on Aug. 29 that accused the Culver City Police Department (CCPD) of attempting to “manufacture a crime crisis” in the city through an increase in crime related announcements and press releases.

“In June 2020, CCPD suddenly started a barrage of press releases and push texts about violent crimes. It’s not because crime changed,” the caption published with the video said.

The video, which has a generic backing track and no speakers, began by pointing out that there were 121 violent crimes reported in Culver City from April 2019 to May 2020. However, there are 201 violent crimes logged in the Culver City Police Department’s monthly reports during that time period, distributed by month as follows:

April ‘19: 18

May ‘19: 13

June ‘19: 13

July ‘19: 14

Aug. ‘19: 12

Sept. ‘19: 17

Oct. ‘19: 11

Nov. ‘19: 15

Dec. ‘19: 10

Jan. ‘20: 16

Feb. ‘20: 16

Mar. ‘20: 17

April ‘20: 13

May ‘20: 16

The CCAN video cites the Lexis Nexis Community Crime Map — which the CCPD recently announced a partnership with as their new online crime mapping app — has a slightly different and notably smaller distribution of violent crimes in the city. However, the total number of violent crimes — which are categorized by four main crimes: homicide/attempted homicide, sexual assault, assault, and robbery — is 146, greater than the 121 crimes that CCAN claimed appeared on the map. 

According to the community crime map, they are distributed by month as follows:

April ’19: 12

May’ 19: 9

June ‘19: 13

July ‘19: 7

Aug. ‘19: 10

Sept. ‘19: 16

Oct. ‘19: 10

Nov. ‘19: 11

Dec. ‘19: 11

Jan. ‘20: 6

Feb. ‘20: 13

March ‘20: 10

April ‘20: 7

May ‘20: 11

CCAN contends that despite this volume of crime, only three press releases were sent out during that period, and compared it to June and July of this year, where the video says that 13 press releases were issued for just 28 violent crimes. According to the monthly reports for the respective months, there were 32 violent crimes in that span, and the community crime map lists 27 crimes.

While there are no official numbers on press releases put out by the police department, and records on the CCPD website only go back as far as June 2020, there has been a noted increase in releases by the department.

On July 22, CCPD addressed this increase in a release titled ‘Increased Departmental Communication.’

“Over the past several weeks, we have made a concerted effort to increase the amount of information that we share with the community,” the release reads.

“One of the ways in which we are accomplishing this is through the sharing of information using our social media platforms and our Department website.”

However, while this release does reference an increase in crime reporting, it focuses more on information not directly regarding crimes occuring, but information “related to [their] citizen complain statistics and procedures, [their] use of force statsitics and policies, a COVID-19 outbreak at the Department, [their] new crime mapping application,” while tagging on “notworthy crimes” at the very end.

The release claims that this sharing of information “helps build trust and legitimacy with the community we serve, keeps the community informed on recent and active police incidents and investigations, and also helps our department solve crimes.”

To stay up to date on Culver City Action Network, visit their website at https://culvercityaction.com, or visit their Facebook page.

To learn more about the Culver City Police Department’s communication, visit their website at https://www.culvercitypd.org, or visit their official Facebook page.