L.A. Homicides Drop To 28-Year Low

L.A. Homicides Drop To 28-Year Low
Number Of Killings Plunge 27 Percent From Last Year

Murder SceneLOS ANGELES, Posted 11:25 a.m. December 30, 1998 — Homicides in Los Angeles this year have dropped to their lowest level in almost three decades, according to a newspaper report.

Los Angeles Police Department figures show homicides have fallen about 27 percent from last year, a year in which killings also dropped significantly said The Los Angeles Times.

The drop in Los Angeles exceeds national trends, which show homicides declining about eight percent.

As of Monday, there were 414 homicides citywide, according to the figures. The last time there were fewer homicides in the city was in 1970, when 394 people were killed.

“Obviously, we’re very pleased with the reduction of homicides in the city,” Cmdr. David J. Kalish, the LAPD spokesman, told The Times.

The fewer homicides have allowed detectives to spend more time investigating and solving murder cases. In 1992, the number of cases solved was 58 percent, The Times reported. Last year, the number solved was 71 percent, and officials expect the ratio to be higher this year.

As of November, the number of homicides in areas patrolled by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department also dropped, from 257 last year to 244 this year, according to the department’s most recent statistics.

Law enforcement experts say there are a number of reasons for the drop. These include a booming economy, a stabilization of the drug trade, stiffer sentencing laws, improved police tactics, periodic truces among gangs, gun control efforts and a decrease in the number of young men, the group most likely to commit crimes, officials told the newspaper.

LAPD officials also note that the police force has grown by 2,000 officers since 1992, which means there are more men and women in blue patrol the streets.

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