After a 12-year decline, crime in L.A. surges in first half of 2015

By Ben Poston and Kate Mather | LA Times
July 8, 2015

Eric Garcetti and LAPD on Crime increaseCrime surged across Los Angeles in the first six months of this year despite a campaign by the Los Angeles Police Department to place more officers on the streets and target certain types of offenses.

Los Angeles recorded a 12.7% increase in overall crime, ending more than a decade of declines and raising concerns about what more officials can do to reverse the trend.

Mayor Eric Garcetti and Police Chief Charlie Beck attributed the increases to several possible factors, including gang violence, rising homelessness and a November ballot measure that downgraded many theft and drug crimes from felonies to misdemeanors.

“This is bad news,” Garcetti said Wednesday as the city released the latest LAPD crime numbers. “Let me be clear: Any uptick in crime is unacceptable.”

INTERACTIVE: Track LAPD and L.A. County Sheriff’s crime reports

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he surge in crime was felt across the city. Violent offenses rose 20.6%, propelled by increases in aggravated assaults and robberies. Property crime rose 10.9%, driven by across-the-board increases in burglaries, thefts and motor vehicle thefts. Overall, crime was up 12.7%.

The sharpest increases occurred in the LAPD’s Central Division, which includes parts of downtown, Chinatown and skid row. Violent crime there has risen 67%, according to a Times analysis of LAPD data through June 27. Property crime increased 26%.

Beck and Garcetti emphasized they had seen some progress in recent months — crime is still up, but not as much as it was during the first three months of the year.

Several new initiatives — including the deployment of Metropolitan Division officers to crime hot spots and strengthening gang outreach efforts — appear to be having an effect, they said. They said they hoped continued expansion of the programs would help drive down the numbers.

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