Crime trends downward nationally and locally

LOS ANGELES Los Angeles has enjoyed significant drops in crime, including murder, over the past few years.

"We've seen a significant reduction in homicides you know this year so far," said LAPD Cmdr. Blake Chow.

Chow works in the LAPD's Central Bureau, which has experienced the most significant drops in homicide rates.

"We've actually probably been dropping in violent crime probably for the past seven years," said Chow.

For all of Los Angeles, there were 364 homicides in 2008, which averaged to about one per day. So far this year, there have 302 homicides, averaging less than one per day. That's a 19-percent drop.

"There's also what I call the 'community piece,' and that's at least I would say 50 percent of our job and 50 percent of our success has been the communication with the community," said Chow.

The numbers in L.A. mirror a nationwide trend, with murders down 10 percent this year over last, according to new figures released by the FBI.

Criminologists also point to the proliferation of surveillance cameras as another factor for the overall drop in homicide rates nationwide.

"Enforcement is a big piece, as I said, community is a big piece and of course, technology is also a big piece, and cameras, I think when people know about them, have had a positive impact on our community," said Chow.

In MacArthur Park, the LAPD used several surveillance cameras as tools in their crime prevention efforts.

"If you go over there, you'll find people playing soccer, you'll find families pushing their strollers, so technology is an important piece," said Chow.

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