"The isolation, sense of hopelessness and the inability to quell disputes and ready access to firearms, along with a justice system that has been severely impacted has removed many levers that over the last decade has been effective in the reduction of homicides and shooting violence," said LAPD Chief Michael Moore.
The increase in homicides is similar to what other U.S. cities have experienced during the pandemic including, Chicago which saw a 50% increase and New York City which saw a 40% increase. Chief Moore says gangs and a rise in gun sales are to blame.
"We saw increased street gang violence with 55% of our homicides being gang related and a year over year increase of 42% in gang homicides. Our increased violence in our homeless community with a year over year increase of 11% in violent crime and 65 victims experiencing homelessness lost to homicides compared to the year before," said Moore.
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To address this, the LAPD is adding investigative units focused on gun violence and working to hold those accountable for getting guns into the wrong hands. Moore said the overall drop in crime is attributed to more people staying home and the closure of businesses, restaurants and entertainment venues.
"Property crime down double digits - 11.1%. Violent crime down 3%, robberies down 17%. Part 1 crime, which includes sexual assault, burglary and auto theft is down 9.2% and this is the third year in a row that we've seen decreases in those categories," said Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti.
Garcetti said 2020 was also about learning to not put everything on the shoulders of police officers, while achieving reforms in the LAPD to change the way we police following the death of George Floyd.
One of those changes, the therapeutic transportation pilot, will be on the streets in a few weeks dispatching mental health workers to 911 calls to assist in non violent situations.