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Crime rate up in Downtown LA; some blame AB 109

People are seen walking in Downtown L.A. in this undated file photo.
September 6, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
Crime is up in Downtown Los Angeles this year, and some say one reason is jail overcrowding and a controversial law that results in nonviolent prisoners being released.

Aazim Muhammad is homeless. He says he sees firsthand people getting released from jail and committing crimes.

"They're dumping people onto the county to be responsible for these individuals and crime has gone up downtown because these individuals have ended up on Skid Row," he said.

The Los Angeles Police Department believes AB 109, the state law that sends prisoners to county jail who often get released, is one reason crime is going up downtown.

"We see the same people that we're arresting over and over again going to jail and coming right back, we believe a lot of that has to do with AB 109," said Los Angeles Police Department Capt. Horace Frank.

Officials say there are also more people living downtown, with the population doubling in six years. But with more people comes more crime.

Nate Vormehr owns The No. A boutique, a business in Downtown Los Angeles. He says there are some pockets in downtown with crime, but overall it's a good area.

"Since moving down here, we've noticed nothing but positive change. There's new Metro stops, there's the new Target center, and I guess a lot of people moving down here is helping I think," he said.

The Los Angeles Police Department is trying to stay one step ahead of those prisoners being released. The department has moved 50 officers from other areas to work downtown.


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