Los Angeles boasts lowest homicide rate in 40 years

imageThe LAPD reported a total of 297 homicides in the city this year, making it the quietest year for murder since 1967.

“I am proud to announce that last year the City suffered fewer murders than at any point since 1967,” said Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa during press conference. “This is not just a year-end statistic; it is perhaps the most powerful statement on the state of our city and our Police Department.”

More than 40 years have passed since the total number of homicides in the city equaled less than 300.

LAPD Chief Charlie Beck hailed the men and women of the police force for their part in homicide reduction, but added: “There are more lives that can be saved. Working together with our communities, the LAPD will be committed to doing just that in 2011.”

The drop in homicides represents a five percent decrease since 2009, and a 22 percent decrease since 2008. Murder rates have continued to fall in the past few years, declining by one third since 2007. With fewer than 300 murders in 2010, the city has experienced a 75 percent drop in homicides since 1992, when murders peaked to 1,092.


Homicides have been decreasing throughout the county, with a total of 596 murders in 2010. The year previous, 2009, saw 739 homicides in L.A. In 2008, there were 879 murders and in 2007 there were 939. Factoring in population, 2010 represents the lowest homicide rate per capita since 1964. In 1992, the most recent peak of violent crime in Los Angeles, there were 3.09 homicides per 10,000 people. In 2010, there were 0.74 homicides per 10,000 people.

“Even during tough economic times, we have kept our sights on a more hopeful, promising and safer future and the statistics once again shed light on a much brighter outcome for our City,” said Villaraigosa. “Our unwavering commitment to public safety has yielded tangible results and has saved lives.”


The LAPD Valley Bureau saw the greatest reduction in homicides, with an 11.76 percent drop since 2009. The Central Bureau, however, reported an increase from 93 to 95 killings in the area from 2009 to 2010.

Although the year ended well statistically, a slew of murders around the Christmas period included four killings on Christmas Eve and five murders on Christmas Day. Both 2007 and 2009 had fewer murders on Christmas Day, with 10 murders on Christmas Day in 2008.

Statistics and graph from LAPD Online.

Jury finds in favor of police officer in South L.A. wrongful death case

After two hours of deliberation, a jury found in favor of a Los Angeles police officer in a wrongful death case brought by the wife of a man killed in the Crenshaw area Monday.

Laura Michelle Cox, a Woodland Hills resident, sued Officer Jose Campos for excessive force in the shooting of her husband Maurice Cox on March 1, 2008.

“I’m in total shock,” Cox said of the verdict and how quickly it was reached, according to City News Service.

Cox argued that the 13 shots fired at her husband were excessive because the object in his hand that the officers perceived to be a weapon was, in fact, a cell phone.

But the 9-3 verdict found against her.

“I’m totally relieved,’” said Campos, a 10-year veteran of the Los Angeles Police Department, according to City News Service. “We’re out there to protect the public and to do the right thing.”

Cox said she and her lawyers are investigating a possible appeal.

Maurice Cox was killed after crashing his truck near Crenshaw Boulevard on a night his wife said he had been playing dominoes with friends. Believing Maurice Cox was armed, several officers fired nearly 50 rounds at Maurice Cox, the fatal wound coming from a Los Angeles Police Department officer who was no longer in the case when it went to a jury.

The shooting was captured on film by Alex Alonso of streetgangs.com and a service station security camera.

The District Attorney’s office investigated the shooting but decided against prosecuting the officers involved.

Photo courtesy of Creative Commons

Exploring the meaning of violence

This is the fourth of eight write-ups from freshman students at Manual Arts High School. Some participated in weeks-long projects about animal abuse, drugs, gangs, prostitution and racism. Part of their projects included surveys they created for their communities. After they gathered information, all of the groups presented their findings at a school presentation. Two days later, each group wrote about their experiences during an Intersections: The South Los Angeles Report mentoring and writing workshop.


By: Hugo Castaneda and Christian Garcia

We chose violence because we had overall topics that we wanted to talk about. We thought about animal abuse, domestic abuse and gang violence, and they all fell into the category of violence. This led us to our inquiry question, which was, “How can we stop violence in our community when we see violence within us and all around us?”

Our team conducted research by distributing surveys and giving interviews to multiple people. Facts that we got from the surveys are: many students think violence comes from school, and most students would like to stop violence, but they are too scared to try. Also, students do not see other ways to solve problems because most students see violence in themselves. Victims of violence include everyone from children to elders and from pets to farm animals. Men and women also experience verbal to sexual abuse, and the entire world is full of violence. Everyone is a victim. Violence is found in our homes, the media, video games, television shows, schools and movies.

Report claims gang-related crime has dropped

The mayor’s office received some good news today: it looks like anti-gang strategies like the Summer Night Lights program are working. City Controller Wendy Greuel shared the results of a report that indicated a reduction in gang-related crime in the areas designated to be hubs of gang activity.

The lengthily-titled report, Semi-Annual Follow-up of the Controller’s Blueprint for a Comprehensive Citywide Anti-Gang Strategy, states that gang-related crime has dropped 10.7 percent in the two years since the Gang Reduction and Youth Development program started.

“Controller Greuel’s findings show significant progress on one of our most important initiatives,” said Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa as quoted in a press release. “Now is the time to take that next step in evaluating exactly what programs and what services are causing the drop in gang violence.”

According to the mayor’s office, the Urban Institute has been monitoring the city’s anti-gang efforts for over a year, and will release their findings in a series of reports beginning next month. Greuel, however, has expressed criticism over the amount of tax-payer money dedicated to the Urban Institute and their yet-to-be-published reports. A total of $525,000 has been spent on the evaluation of the GRYD program.

“Our goal is to keep our children out of gangs and onto the right path to a bright future,” said Villaraigosa. “Our GRYD programs are reducing gang violence, radically changing the culture and bureaucracy at City Hall, preventing more people from joining gangs and providing an exit strategy for those already involved. We’re working together to stop the cycle of gang violence that has plagued our city for too long.”

View the designated zones of the GRYD program: