Crime in downtown Hermosa Beach and in the city overall has shown a decrease from summer of 2017 versus 2018, according to statistics released by the Hermosa Beach Police Department.
In the report that covered May through August of each year, larceny decreased significantly, from 40 to 15 reported, in the downtown area, although aggravated assault, simple assault and burglary showed slight increases. Across the city, aggravated assault, car theft and larceny decreased, from 170 to 78, but robbery (from one to two reported), simple assault (16 to 24) and burglary (28 to 45) increased.
“We had tremendous issues down there once upon a time and I don't want to rest on our laurels, but it's a completely different atmosphere in our downtown Pier Plaza than it was five to 10 years ago,” said acting Chief of Police Milton McKinnon at Tuesday's Hermosa Beach City Council meeting.
The city has worked with the police department and downtown dining establishments to improve the Pier Plaza atmosphere, according to McKinnon and Greg Newman, who co-owns Palmilla, Sharkeez and Tower 12. Newman, along with owners of American Junkie and Patrick Malloys, have instituted measures to help eliminate past problems downtown.
Some of these measures Newman said that have been implemented include eliminating drinks larger than 32 ounces, eliminate 2-for-1 happy hour drinks, have security staff wear matching uniforms, add more light inside the establishments, enforce a strict dress code, implement various programs to protect customers, pull alcohol related advertising from their social media platforms and monitor the music selections by staff and DJs.
“We're keeping the music fun, upbeat, not too serious, not make anyone angry, this is something we've been doing for a very long time and the other establishments are doing it as well,” Newman said. “A lot of local DJs, a lot of fun singalongs, just stuff that makes people want to hang out and be happy and not fight.”
McKinnon added the city has hired a new security company that has been more proactive and has “given them more eyes” downtown.