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Police Report Shift in Crime Trends

Burbank last year saw shootouts, serial arson, hate crimes, high-profile drug cases and lots of theft, but despite the many headline crime stories of 2023, offenses were down slightly year over year in the overall tally.

According to a recent Burbank Leader records request of Burbank Police data, total crime offenses were down by 1% in the city from 2022 to 2023, and while police in the city documented 7,775 reported offenses throughout the year, the department nabbed 3,811 arrests.

Certain crime trends saw peaks in 2023, including catalytic converter theft, petty theft and fentanyl-related offenses.

Perhaps the most significant changes from 2022 were the increase in violent crimes like assaults, and the sweeping decrease in drug violations. The year 2023 saw an 18% increase in aggravated assaults and a 35% decrease in drug-related violations.

Crimes in the report provided by the Burbank Police Department are broken into three categories — crimes against property, crimes against society and crimes against persons — each of which are itemized by each crime and its total, with sums from the previous year provided for comparison.


Crimes against persons are defined by police as any offense involving the “attempted use, or threatened use of physical force or other abuse of a person and includes, but is not limited to, homicide; assault; kidnapping; false imprisonment; reckless endangerment; robbery; rape; sexual assault and molestation.”

Aggravated assaults and simple assaults dominate the category and account for more than 706 of the total 982 crimes against persons. Simple assault, which can simply involve a threat of violence without the use of physical force, saw an 8% increase from 2022 to 2023, though intimidation cases doubled. Intimidation does not involve an explicit threat of violence.

Police made arrests in 57% of assault cases.

Robbery accounts for the rest of the category, and 2023 saw 111 cases of it, 35% more than 2022. Police made arrests in 54% of robbery cases.

No murder, manslaughter or justifiable homicide cases were reported in 2023. There was one murder case in 2022, the result of a surprise cold case conviction of Horace Van Valtz Jr., a convicted serial killer who was sentenced in September 2021 to two consecutive life terms without the possibility of parole for murdering two women in the 1980s, including one in Burbank.

There were twice as many kidnapping cases in 2023 versus 2022. Police solved 16 of the 22 kidnapping offenses last year.

Police also reported 14 cases of rape, down from 17 in 2022. There were only four rape arrests through 2023, considered a low arrest rate compared to Burbank totals, but one that is in line with national averages regarding rape cases.

In March, police arrested a 22-year-old Glendale man who easily gained access to a Burbank public school through an unlocked door before raping one student and sexually touching two others, prompting calls for an investigation into school safety policy districtwide.


The definition of crimes against property — which include robbery, fraud, bribery, theft, burglary and vandalism — is to illegally obtain money, property, or some other benefit at another’s expense.

Property crimes dominated offenses in 2023, reaching 4,934 total cases by Dec. 31, almost 75% higher than 2022’s tally. These crimes include offenses such as larceny, which accounts for more than a third of all reported crimes in Burbank in 2023, and half of all property crimes. Larceny was up by 15% in 2023 over 2022.

Larceny is an umbrella term that encompasses shoplifting and petty theft.

More severe property crimes like burglaries sat at 352 total offenses for the year, up from 279 in 2022. Robberies increased as well last year at 111 cases, about 30 more than 2022. Arson rates leveled out at 36 offenses, down slightly from 38 in 2022.

Vandalism remained almost identical, at around 440 documented offenses, as did motor vehicle theft, with only a slight 1% increase from 2022 to 2023. Motor vehicle theft registered very low arrest rates, and only 7% of such thefts in Burbank led to arrests.

Fraud fell significantly in 2023. There were 15% fewer cases in 2023 for a total of 739.


Crimes against society, a category that includes gambling, prostitution and drug violations, represent society’s prohibition against engaging in certain types of activity, some of which are considered to be victimless crimes, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.

Crimes against society in Burbank were down significantly in 2023 at 1,859 cases. Burbankers saw 24% fewer of these crimes compared to the previous year. Drug violations accounted for almost 90% of the category and 20% of the year’s total offenses. Narcotics violations were down by about 30%, though drug equipment violations remained about the same. No one was arrested for gambling in 2023.

Weapons violations, including unlawful possession and ghost guns, were almost identical to 2022 tallies at 216.

There were 27 hate crime offenses in 2023, with one high-profile arrest of Klinton Allister Dion, who is being tried in Burbank after defacing eight temples in Burbank and Glendale — including the Temple Emanu El — with swastikas and other anti-Jewish Nazi symbols.

First published in the January 20 print issue of the Burbank Leader.

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