Violent crime in Los Angeles drops again as traffic deaths outpace homicides in 2023

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Thursday, January 25, 2024
LA had more traffic deaths than homicides in 2023
Crime statistics released by the Los Angeles Police Department show there were more traffics deaths than homicides in 2023.

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Violent crime overall in Los Angeles decreased more than 3% in 2023, officials said Wednesday.

Shootings were down 10% in 2023 compared to 2022. Homicides were also down by about 17%, from 392 victims in 2022 to 327 last year, according to data released by the Los Angeles Police Department.

For the first time since 2014, the number of traffic deaths, which increased by 8% to 336, surpassed homicides.

"We're inundated with requests for help because there's so many people being hit and killed on a regular basis," said Damian Kevitt, executive director of the group Streets Are For Everyone. "We're almost at one a day."

According to the LAPD, the number of fatal hit-and-run crashes increased by 23%, DUI collisions were up by 32%, and deadly pedestrian crashes were up by 13%.

"To tragically lose a loved one -- who literally you said goodbye to this morning, and thought you would see later in the day, and that was the last time you get to see them -- that tragic loss, it destroys a family, it destroys people's lives," Kevitt said.

Traffic collisions' devastating toll on victims, loved ones

Cindi Enamorado knows this pain all too well, having lost her brother Raymond in a hit-and-run last year. He and his girlfriend Maria had just had friends over for dinner at their new home.

"It was a horrific, violent, death," Enamorado said. "They had just walked them to the car and they were walking across the street to their home."

That's when the couple was hit. Enamorado said her brother was pinned under the car from the waist down and dragged.

"He was hit by another vehicle, and he was split in two and his remains were scattered through the street," she said."

His girlfriend Maria was also badly injured. Enamorado shared graphic images with ABC7 that showed Maria's injuries to highlight the problem. The driver was found and sentenced to five years in prison.

Enamorado, like many others, is saying more needs to be done.

"We're not going to turn around anytime soon until we're able to change legislation, hold people accountable, not just let them go in months or even a few years," she said.

A rise in thefts in Los Angeles

Citywide, there was a 16% increase in theft in 2023 compared to 2022.

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"Those increases in residential and commercial burglaries, which began toward the second half of the year, but also auto theft and retail theft," LAPD Chief Michel Moore said at a news conference. "On the residential burglary front, the department is working to improve the coordination and the exchange of information related to the South American residential burglary crews that are operating across not just this region, but across this nation."

While property crime and auto-thefts have increased, Moore is highlighting reductions in smash-and-grab robberies and follow-home robberies, but he says the city still sees way too much gun violence. However, gun violence within L.A.'s homeless population did drop.

Data released by the Los Angeles Police Department shows that more people died in traffic collisions in 2023 than in homicides in the city last year.

LAPD chief credits Inside Safe program with helping reduce crime

Moore gave credit to Mayor Karen Bass' Inside Safe program, which houses the homeless living at the city's most problematic encampments, then clears the encampment.

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"The nearly 10% reduction in part one crime involving homeless individuals, reductions in every category of violent crime and 40 fewer homicides this last year representing more than half of our reduction in overall homicides for the city of Los Angeles," Moore said.

"For Inside Safe locations before and after, calls for service go down and crime goes down," Moore added. "It's just that simple."

"That's why when you're thinking about the expense, because obviously inside safe costs a lot of money, we have to look at how much it costs with people on the street," Bass said. "Whether we are talking about police calls, fire calls, businesses that are compromised etc. It is very expensive in the city for people to be on the street."

Wednesday's news conference comes after Moore unexpectedly announced his retirement earlier this month.

As far as his replacement, Bass said she's currently holding meetings at police stations speaking with officers to hear their needs. An interim chief will be appointed before Moore retires at the end of next month.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.