HomeCity NewsL.A. County: Glendale Arrest Rates Show Racial Disparity

L.A. County: Glendale Arrest Rates Show Racial Disparity

A report from the Los Angeles County Commission on Human Relations noted that the ratio of Black people arrested by the Glendale Police Department is four times greater than the city’s Black population.
This ratio is consistent with Pasadena and South Pasadena police departments, with all three cities also having an arrest ratio of Hispanic individuals of more than double each city’s Hispanic population. Examining arrest data from 2010 to 2020, the report, which was released in February, said these ratios have remained relatively stable over the last decade.
The county report, which examined data collected through freedom of information act requests from city police departments, offered a few possible explanations for these findings.
“These disparities can be driven by several sources, including differences in the rate of unlawful behavior among residents of different racial and ethnic groups, offenses committed by nonresidents, and racial disparities in rates of contact with police and/or treatment by police,” the report said.
In response to this report, GPD argued that its arrest demographics are more reflective of L.A. County’s population than Glendale’s.
“It is imperative to note that over half of the arrests made in Glendale involve nonresidents, underscoring the importance of considering regional dynamics when interpreting arrest statistics,” GPD said in a press release, adding that assertions surrounding racial disparities “may be misleading.”
With 53% of arrests in Glendale involving nonresidents, according to the data collection, the report acknowledged that this factor “accounts for a minority of this racial disparity in arrests.” Of nonresident arrests, the bulk come from Central Los Angeles and the San Fernando Valley.
The report also examined the rates at which residents versus nonresidents were booked in different racial groups. For Armenian, Black and white arrestees, the ratio of resident to nonresident arrests matched up fairly well with the city’s population. However, for Hispanic arrestees, there was a disproportionately higher rate of nonresident arrests. Glendale has a similar Hispanic population as some of its surrounding areas, the report noted.
“A potential … explanation is that GPD arrests and/or books rather than cites a higher share of nonresident visible minorities,” the report said.
GPD reiterated the county’s demographics as a whole in a statement: “Hispanic individuals comprise approximately 40% of arrestees in Glendale, which is lower than the approximately 50% Hispanic population in the county.” Glendale’s Hispanic residents make up 19% of the city’s population.
Another noteworthy finding in the report was that as arrest rates in the city of Los Angeles and South Pasadena fell between 2011 and 2019, GPD arrest rates stayed consistent, resulting in nearly twice as many arrests per resident in recent years in Glendale than in L.A.
While arrest rates in general stayed relatively consistent in Glendale, other than a dip during peak COVID-19 in 2020 and 2021, there was variation in types of arrests. Between 2012 and 2019, the number of felony arrests in Glendale declined by 40%, while the number of arrests that led to misdemeanor citations increased by 50%. South Pasadena and Los Angeles also saw decreases in felony arrests, but they also saw decreases in misdemeanor citations.
“Because arrests for low-level offenses are most likely to be made at the discretion of police officers, this pattern of low-level arrests is consistent with [Glendale Police Department] redirecting resources toward lower-level arrests in response to reductions in felony conduct,” the report said.
The report went on to discuss the possible role of state policy aimed at lowering incarceration as a factor in these changes such as Proposition 47, “which reclassified several nonviolent property and drug offenses from felonies to misdemeanors in order to reduce incarceration.”
Additionally, the report noted that on average Black and Asian arrestees are given a median bail of $20,000, while white and Hispanic arrestees receive a median bail of $15,000 in Glendale.
In its conclusion, the report recommended that police departments can better create public understanding of policing by regularly releasing arrest and incident data to the public, while removing identifying information to protect the privacy of arrestees.
“Because our data have been made publicly available, we hope that community stakeholders and police departments will be able to build on our analysis and improve our shared understanding of police practices,” the report said.

First published in the March 2 print issue of the Glendale News-Press.

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