In April, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti boasted in his State of the City speech, “As long as I’m your mayor, I won’t duck bad news. I’m going to own it.” Garcetti may not want to own the newest data that shows that the overall crime rate in his city for the first half of 2015 spiked higher than any time in over ten years.
Homicide decreased 8%, but all other crimes have increased this year. Violent crime jumped 21%; shooting victims climbed 19%; and property crime, including burglaries and thefts of homes and cars, rose 10%. Over half the 21 geographic police divisions saw violent crime soar over 20%.
The only division showing a decrease was the West Valley. The only division with a decrease in property crime was the Mission division in the north San Fernando Valley. The Central division, comprised of slices of downtown and Chinatown, skyrocketed 67% in violent crime from the same period last year.
In March, LAPD Chief Charlie Beck told the Los Angeles Police Commission that violent crime had risen 26% in the first three months of 2015.
Garcetti’s April speech promised moving 200 officers into the Metropolitan Division, which stations officers based on where crime is flourishing, reassigning 40 officers to a new community policing division and doubling civilian workers. But critics blasted the augmentation of the Metropolitan Division, claiming an increased police presence would disturb community relations with the police.
The FBI reported at the end of 2014 that violent crime had decreased 4.4% nationwide in 2013.