L.A. Crime Falls for 11th Year

Article published in the LA Times

Overall crime in Los Angeles dropped for the 11th straight year in 2013, with many categories seeing the lowest per capita rates in decades, city officials said.

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and Police Chief Charlie Beck announced Monday that final LAPD statistics showed overall crime was down 5.2% across the city, with double-digit drops in violent crime, homicides, reported rapes and gang violence.
Garcetti hailed the "extraordinary efforts" of the LAPD, community groups and city officials for numbers he called "a proud accomplishment."

"While we have good news, we have even more ambitious plans," Garcetti said. "Working together with this chief, we're going to continue to push crime down in every L.A. neighborhood. We still have pockets that are too violent, too many gunshots at night for our Angelenos, and too many tragedies that we still have to wake up or read about in the morning."

Beck credited the work of his officers, data-driven policing and improved community relations for the drop in crime.

"Eleven straight years is no accident," he said.

Overall violent crime -- which includes homicide, rape, robbery and aggravated assault -- fell 12% from 2012, according to the LAPD. The city saw 251 homicides in 2013, down from 299 the year before and the fewest in the city since 1966. Beck said his department cleared just under 70% of those cases in 2013, which he said was "right on track" with recent years.
Reported rapes were down nearly 32%, robberies down 12.5% and aggravated assaults down 9%, the LAPD said.

Property crime also fell, dropping an overall 3.7% from 2012.

Beck said it has been decades since the city recorded the same level of crimes per capita.

"You have to go back to 1949 to find a year that was safer in the city of Los Angeles," Beck said. "Sixty-five years ago. ... An amazing accomplishment."

But the chief said he was most proud of the strides the city had made combating gang-related crime, which fell 17.6% from 2012. There were 145 gang-related killings in 2013, a 9.4% decrease from the year before.

Beck said the city has cut its gang-related violence in half since 2008, citing better intervention and prevention programs among thekey factors.

"That shows that this city, the city that was once known as the home of all gang crime, is now known -- and followed nationally -- as the home of the solution to gang violence," Beck said. "Of all the things we've done, I think that I am probably the proudest of that."

Though each of LAPD's four bureaus saw crime drop, Beck noted there were areas of the city he would like to see more improvement. He pointed to the department's South and Central bureaus, which he said "still suffer a level of violent crime that is not acceptable."

"Our work is not done," Beck said. "Our strategies work, but they need to be refined. Our relationship with the community is better, but it's not perfect. Every day as a police department, we try to put good faith in that bank of community trust. And we'll continue to do that."

Garcetti also vowed to continue to drive down crime.

"Each one of those 251 murders, homicides, is a person who has a family, who has a community," the mayor said. "And so our goal must be to try and get as close to zero on all of these crimes as we can."