Crime figures lowest since ’57, police chief and mayor report
Ninth consecutive year
Police Chief Charlie Beck said Thursday that the city had the fewest number of crimes last year since 1957 and overall crime was down for the ninth consecutive year, but there was one more homicide than the previous year.
A total of 104,215 violent and property crimes were logged in 2011, the lowest per capita since 1952, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said.
Beck and Villaraigosa attributed the decline to the size of the police force—9,963 officers—which had been threatened by budget cuts early last year.
“We are a tempting target because we are so big and consume so much of the city’s budget, but that is a false savings,” Beck said. “Money towards public safety is the best money, the most important job of government.”
Beck ticked off a list of reductions in violent and property crimes, including drops of 19.9 percent and 8 percent for rapes and robberies, respectively, and a 5 percent reduction in burglaries, car thefts and other property crimes.
Beck singled out a 5.7 percent drop in aggravated assaults as particularly significant, calling the crime a precursor to homicide.
He said the city had more work to do in the area of gang reduction. More than half of the homicides last year were gang-related, Beck said.
“The number of homicides totaled 298—one more than in 2010. That’s still lower than any other year since 1967,” Beck said, while adding, “One more is one too many.”
The police chief said his goal for 2012 is to bring the total number of serious crimes below 100,000, a target he called “the holy grail of policing in Los Angeles.”
LOS ANGELES, Calif.—Crime in the city dropped for the 10th consecutive year in 2012, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and Police Chief Charlie Beck announced today.
The pair attributed the 1.4 percent reduction in crime from 2011 to continued police hiring despite the city’s large budget deficit. Villaraigosa said he would keep police hiring as a top priority in the city’s next budget, his last as mayor. Villaraigosa will be termed out of office and replaced by a new mayor July 1.
LOS ANGELES, Calif.—Police officers in riot helmets arrested 292 people today and, in a mostly peaceful operation, dismantled the tent city that sprang up Oct. 1 outside Los Angeles City Hall as a western outpost of the Occupy Wall Street movement.
The park where the encampment was set up was fully cleared by 5:10 a.m., about five hours after the operation began, Los Angeles police Officer Cleon Joseph said.
LOS ANGELES, Calif.—The shift of thousands of state prisoners to Los Angeles County custody will increase crime and reduce overall public safety unless the state gives Los Angeles and other cities money to respond, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and law-enforcement officials said today.
Starting this morning, people convicted of non-violent, non-serious, non-sex offender crimes will be sent to county jails instead of state prisons.
LOS ANGELES, Calif.—City officials began a weekend of Sept. 11 memorial events at City Hall this morning.
Council President Eric Garcetti presented a panel of the city’s senior religious leaders in City Council chambers to preview “One Light,” a memorial event at City Hall Saturday night.
Religious congregations from across the region will light 500 lanterns on the steps of City Hall.
LOS ANGELES, Calif.—Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa announced today the expansion of his 3-year-old Summer Night Lights program, which keeps some public parks open at night during the summer to give teens a place to go and keep crime down.