LAPD Chief Beck's first year sees crime fall

LOS ANGELES One year ago Wednesday the 33-year LAPD veteran became the city's new chief of police. The economy was in the tank with unemployment rising.

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa picked Beck from the long list of applicants to be chief. Wednesday, the mayor forced Beck to talk about a first year of relative success.

The mayor called a news conference to talk about Beck's first year. The LAPD's communications department produced a slick full-color mini-magazine to celebrate the successes.

There's reason to celebrate. Under Beck's leadership crime has continued to fall as unemployment rose and a recession took hold.

Part 1 crimes such as rape and robbery are down 7.2 percent. Homicides have dropped 10.1 percent. Gang crime has fallen 11.8 percent.

"This should not be a year when crime goes down," said Beck. "But a couple things enabled us to do that: One is support of this city. Two, our willingness to change."

Beck says the real test of policing is, can it change a place forever and bring in business? Can policing make neighborhoods safer and make them a place people want to live? He believes the LAPD has done that in many areas.

"Our primary goals: keeping this city safe, preventing acts of terrorism, reducing crime. Those things have all been met," said Beck.

Beck says his best moment so far is seeing the homicide rate drop. The murder rate is at its lowest in years.

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