Crime in Los Angeles has been declining since 1995 in almost all major categories, including robberies, assaults, theft, and homicides. According to the FBI, crime throughout the entire United States has been in a sharp decline during the past several years. Other than Los Angeles, cities such as Miami, New York, Chicago, San Francisco, and Detroit have all seen declines in crime.
Published reports have stated that crime rates in Los Angeles have reached
29 year lows, but there is no clear cut explanation to the recent declines. Cities and states have theorized on their own declines without considering the big picture and national trends.
The following list are some reasons that have been used to explain the recent
declines in crime in particular cities, but these reasons do not explain national down trends of violence, and in some cases they may not be accurately explaining crime
reduction in their cities. Everyone takes credit when crime is down and no one in responsible when crime increases.
- Concealed Weapon Laws
The most consistent trend seen throughout the United States with regard to crime reduction is the economic boom that the US has been experiencing since the mid 1990s to early 2000.
- Three Strikes Bill in California which passed in 1994
- Community Policing, such as used in Boston
- Tougher sentencing for repeat offenders
- Hiring of more officers, New York City went from 25,465 to more than
- The emergence of anti-crime grass roots organizations in the 1990s
- Change in the population age cohort that is more prone to commit
Historically, crime trends have followed economic/employment trends.
Simply put, when national unemployment figures are high, crime almost always increases, and vice versa. An April 1998 The Koch Report empirically linked economic trends to crime and as the U.S. enters another recession we should
expect that crime be on the rise in many cities and towns in the U.S.
This recent increase in crime should have us questioning the experts that stated community policing, three strikes, tougher sentencing, hiring more officers, and stricter gun laws was the reason why crime went down. All of these policies are still in effect, but crime, since 2000, has been on the rise in Los Angeles and many other cities. (View LA County Homicide Chart)
Gang Homicides Rise Slightly in O.C. After a 10-Year Decline, Report Says, LA Times September 12, 2002
Table of Gang Homicides in Los Angeles County, 1979-1998
Chart of Gang Homicides in Los Angeles County, 1979-1998
Orange County Homicides
Homicides are at an All Time Low as we enter 1999 in Los Angeles, LA Times December 28, 1998
Experts try to figure out why crime went up in 2000, Jan 3, 2001, LA Times
Killings Increase in Many Big Cities , December 21, 2001, New York Times
Clive Jackson murdered in South LA, November 21, 2002, Streetgangs.com Newsletter
Gang Warfare Claims 20 Lives In Past Week, November 24, 2002, www.nbc4.tv
As Killings Ebb and Flow, Fear Keeps Its Grip on South L.A.
Residents watch the smallest detail, for the wrong word or clothing can spark a gang killing, November 25, 2002, LA Times
Tracking of Gang-Related Crime Falls Short, Jan 24, 2003, LA Times
Los Angeles Homicide Map, 1995-2000 published in the Los Angels Times on Jan 26, 2003. (PDF 337 K) Each dot represents 3 homicides that have been randomly plotted in the zip code of occurrance. Must have DSL or fast internet connection to view this file.
Once Again, Chicago Is U.S. Homicide Capital, Jan 2, 2004, Times Wire
Homicides in '03 Plunge 23% From Year Before, January 3, 2004, LA Times
Homicides Increase From Previous Year in San Diego January 7, 2004, Times Wire