The Homicide Report

The Times chronicles L.A. County
homicide victims

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On Monday, Jan. 25, 2010, The Times launched a new version of the Homicide Report. You have arrived at the old blog.

Readers can no longer post new comments on this site, but we encourage you to join the conversation on our new site. The updated Homicide Report features an interactive map and searchable database of the more than 2,600 homicides in L.A. County since January 2007, when Times' reporter Jill Leovy first started this blog with the goal of covering each one.

Comments prior to Jan. 26 will, at least for now, remain archived here, with links provided in the new database.

If you have any questions please feel free to e-mail, and we will do our best to respond.

-- Megan Garvey and Anthony Pesce

What is The Homicide Report?

February 13, 2007 | 12:06 pm

The Homicide Report is a weekly listing of all homicide victims reported by the Los Angeles County coroner, combined with updates every few days from law enforcement agencies of new homicides not yet listed. Any human being who dies at the hand of another in Los Angeles County, and whose death is recorded by the coroner, is included in the report.

The report seeks to reverse an age-old paradox of big-city crime reporting, which dictates that only the most unusual and statistically marginal homicide cases receive press coverage, while those cases at the very eye of the storm -- those which best expose the true statistical dimensions of the problem of deadly violence -- remain hidden.

Selective news coverage is a practical necessity for most news organizations operating in a county where nearly 1,100 people die from homicide yearly. The Los Angeles Times, for example, is limited by the number of pages it prints, and in a recent year, found room for stories on fewer than 10% of L.A. County homicides, according to an analysis by a Times researcher. Such selectivity ensures that the people and places most affected by homicides are least likely to be seen, while the safest people are inundated with information about crimes unlikely to ever touch their lives.

In L.A., people understand this paradox well, as numerous letters to he Homicide Report attest. When a celebrity's wife or girlfriend is killed in Brentwood or Studio City, or when a female student is killed in Westwood, we know reaction will be swift. Such cases, catastrophic in their own right, traditionally generate a forceful response--not just from the press, but also from politicians, activists, institutions and the general public.

But Angelenos also know that not all suffer equally from homicide. Night after night, vastly higher numbers of young men, most of them black or Latino, many with criminal records, are shot in drive-by shootings in Lynwood, Compton, Watts, South-Central Los Angeles, Willowbrook, Westlake, Boyle Heights, or any of a number of neighborhoods in the county long associated with relatively high crime rates.

We know the press takes little notice of these deaths. Immense private heartbreak and shattering communal events are thus rendered footnotes or ephemera, while the phenomenon of routine killing in the public streets of a major, first-world city is diffused into virtual invisibility. The public comprehends there is an elephant in the room, but is never given more than a glimpse of its massive bulk; meanwhile the press focuses on a toenail, or the tip of a trunk.

With The Homicide Report, however, The Times seeks to exploit the advantages of the web to eliminate selectivity in homicide coverage and give readers a more complete picture of who dies from homicide, where, and why -- thus conveying both the personal story and the statistical story with greater accuracy.

The comments to this entry are closed.

Comments (8)

becoming a gang member should be a crime. maybe this would keep
young people from joining a gang

I heard your interview on NPR over the weekend (Feb 17-18). I agree that race (including that of suspects) should be included in the reports. It's a detail that people would guess at from the location of the crime and name of the victims and suspects anyway, so why not tell the truth? The answer to that question is that crime is a political problem when race becomes an issue. The Homicide Report, then, is political speech that tells the blunt truth. Good luck.

I heard you on NPR (KUOW in Seattle). I liked what I heard. I would like to see something like this done by our local paper(s). As a retired Lieutenant from the Seattle Police Department, I know the value of community involvement. The first step toward involvement is information.

When considering the number of death in the streets of Los Angeles County it is clear that the troops that are currently deployed in Iraq would be better utilized supporting the Law Enforcement Agencies of L.A County.

I think that all these gang members that are over the age of 17 years old that think aren't afraid of the law and to take a life then maybe we should think abvout sending these young killers to Iraq instead of the young men who are the productive people in our society. think about it?

stupid polices only focus on gangs while 90 percent of crime is done by non gang members...yes gang do crime but only 10 percent. police should think wise and go for the real criminals not just gangs, they need better stragetys


where did you get your stats from? I would like to see your stats to make sure that only 10 percent of crime is commited by gangs. If that is true then you are right money is being spent on the wrong issues. We should not be putting so much money into gang issues if they only account for 10% of the crimes commited in the city. I would like to know for sure that way I can get my voice out there to make changes to where the money is going and why.

ruiz, please don't invents facts out of thin air. There's too many smart people reading this blog.

The DOJ estimates that gang and gang related crime is blamed for 80% of crime, nationwide.

If you would comb through the 755 homicides listed in this blog, that match the prime gang years of the deceased, you will find a common denominator ... "gang killing or gang suspected killing"


About the Reporters
The Homicide Report is compiled using information from the Los Angeles County coroner's office, local law enforcement agencies and the Los Angeles Times. It is written by Times staff writers.

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Please visit the Homicide Report at its new location |  January 25, 2010, 10:32 pm »
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