Los Angeles mayor, police chief say city is safe despite uptick in violent crimes

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Newly released statistics show violent crimes are up 20 percent in Los Angeles, but Mayor Eric Garcetti and Police Chief Charlie Beck said it's one of the safest big cities in the country. (KABC)

Newly released statistics show violent crimes are up 20 percent in Los Angeles, but Mayor Eric Garcetti and Police Chief Charlie Beck said it's one of the safest big cities in the country.

Violent crimes such as rape and murder went up in 2015 compared to the previous two years. On Wednesday, top officials analyzed the data and announced what would be done to make the city safer.

In 1953, there was a rate of 301 crimes per 10,000 residents. In 2015, it was 298 per 10,000 residents, which is a little less. And while last year had a troubling jump, crime in the city is lower than in most major cities.

"(We are) below New York, Chicago, Philadelphia and Houston," Garcetti said.

Last spring showed violent crime at its highest point with a 32.7 percent increase. Domestic violence crimes were reclassified, which pushed up the numbers. Then gang warfare erupted - an increase for the first time in 8 years.

At its peak, the Los Angeles Police Department battled back, doubling Metro officers in hot zones and sending in gang intervention units. The number of guns recovered and arrests tripled.

"These solutions broker peace, teach non-violence and change the way our young people resolve conflict," Beck said.

Property crimes had also gone down until this year, and the stats showed an increase in car thefts and break-ins. Almost half of the car break-ins happened when the cars were unlocked, Beck said.

Also preventable is domestic violence. Domestic assault response teams were expanded throughout the city, and Garcetti said homicides related to domestic violence cases were cut in half.

What has helped is when assault is reported the first time it happens.

"We've arrested 200 people for homicide this year. If you go into the background of those folks, almost all of them have domestic violence in the home they grew up in," Beck said.

Officials said more funding will help the downward trend and that $5.5 million is being added for key programs, staffing and training.

Related Topics:
crimegang violencerapemurderauto thefteric garcettilapdpolice chiefLos AngelesLos Angeles County
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