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Crime rate continues to drop in LA County

January 5, 2012 12:26:13 AM PST
Homicides, rapes and other major crimes continue to drop in Los Angeles city and county, extending a years-long trend despite the weak economy.

"I can proudly say for 2011, it is the 9th consecutive year crime and violence in the city of Los Angeles has dropped," said L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. "Once again, just as last year, on a per-capita basis, we're safer that any time since 1952."

According to the report, there were about 15,000 fewer crimes reported last year compared with the previous year in areas patrolled by LAPD and sheriff's deputies. The LAPD recorded 298 killings, which is about even with the historically low rate in 2010.

"These are the three best years of crime in the modern history of Los Angeles. We are finally coming to some ability to prevent gang crime," said LAPD Chief Charlie Beck.

Other major crimes, including robbery, assault, burglary and auto theft, were down between 3 and 9 percent. The number of rapes reported dropped by 20 percent in both the city and county.

Beck said the decrease in crime correlates directly with police staffing and crime.

However, some say they have not noticed a decrease in crime, including Union Rescue Mission's Andy Bales.

"We have returned to the Skid Row of 10 years ago," he said. "It has absolutely returned to how bad it was before the Safer Cities Initiative."

The two areas where an increase was seen were gang shootings and police shootings. Los Angeles police recorded 168 gang-related killings through Saturday, up 6 percent over the same period last year.

There were 61 officer-involved shootings through Saturday - up 65 percent from the previous year - and officers killed 25 people.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.