Crime down 11 percent, safer PCH expected in 2024

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Malibu/lost Hills Sheriffs Deputies are on scene. Photo by Samantha Bravo/TMT

Malibu experienced a difficult year in vehicle safety, but overall, safer year from crime

The City of Malibu faced an especially difficult fourth quarter of 2023, following the tragedy on Oct. 17 that claimed the life of four Pepperdine students, and brought a national spotlight to the safety of the city’s 21 miles of Pacific Coast Highway. 

The latest report published by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department in October 2023 detailed the fact that fatal collisions had increased to five for the year, in comparison to the previous year’s total of two. Pedestrian deaths totaled six at the time of the published report, up from the 2022 total of one for the year. 

However, the total for injury collisions was roughly the same with 94 reported injuries compared to the previous 97 for the year, and pedestrian injuries totalling 10 to the previous 11 in 2022.

At the time of the report, a total of 4636 “hazardous” citations were made, with the most frequently cited violation listed as 22350: Unsafe Speed.

Malibu residents could look forward to a significantly safer experience on PCH following the approval of a $4.2-million contract approved in December that will allow Caltrans to move forward with 30 upgrades, including enhanced striping in curves, optical speed bars at 10 locations, speed feedback signs, speed limit markings on the pavement and replacement of safety corridor signs. 

This will be an addition of safety measures that will supplement an already in-progress project, fully funded by Measure R, and administered by the Los Angeles Metropolitan Transportation Authority. This project began in December with crews beginning installation of communication lines that will allow for Caltrans to remotely control traffic signals on PCH, adjusting timing to lower traffic speeds and reduce traffic.

The project will also include new closed-circuit TV cameras at each intersection, street improvements, accessibility upgrades, and changeable message signs.

California Transportation Secretary Toks Omishakin acknowledged that the improvement of safety on PCH is highly important.

“I talked to my team and I said that this is the number one priority as far as safety goes in our state,” Omishakin said.

The Sheriff Department’s report did also include great news for Malibu residents. 

The document reported an overall 11 percent drop in crimes from 2022 to 2023.

Among significant decreases in crime are assaults, grand theft, theft from unlocked vehicles, and residential, garage/out-building, and locked vehicle burglaries. 

Unfortunately, the city did report two homicides in 2023 and the death investigation of murder victim Javonnta Marshann Murphy, whose body was discovered in a barrel at Malibu Lagoon State Beach in July.

A break in the investigation was made in early October, as two men were arrested in connection to the murder. Joshua Lee Simmons, 37, and Dennis Eugene Vance, 41, were arrested for the murder of Murphy, both men being known as acquaintances of the victim.

Simmons was charged with a second murder this past weekend, being suspected of the fatal shooting of 50-year-old Anthony Soloc in Inglewood last January.

To see the full report visit https://www.malibucity.org/ArchiveCenter/ViewFile/Item/677.