The Homicide Report

The Times chronicles L.A. County
homicide victims

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Murder and the economy

October 5, 2007 |  4:06 pm

A reader asks an interesting question about the possible interplay between unemployment and homicide in response to Wednesday's note about declining homicide rates in L.A. County.

Below is a rough chart comparing the number of homicides in Los Angeles County, as reported by the coroner, and the countywide unemployment rate, as reported by the California State Economic Development Department.

Jill_chart_3

Roughly, homicides were higher when the jobless picture was somewhat dimmer. Those who remember the early 1990s in L.A.--back when home prices dived and the aerospace job base collapsed--may also remember the epic homicide spike in those years. More recently, the region has seen tight labor markets and, up until recently, booming real estate. This has coincided with fewer homicides. *The 2007 numbers are estimated projections. For the values on this chart, hit "read on" below.

(chart by Times assistant graphics editor Thomas Suh Lauder)

Homicides, L.A. County

1991 2,054	
1992 2,113
1993 2,070
1994 1,816
1995 1,789
1996 1,535
1997 1,295
1998 1,053
1999 965
2000 1,076
2001 1,161
2002 1,231
2003 1,142
2004 1,131
2005 1,152
2006 1,085
2007 968*
*estimate based on annualized figures, Jan-Aug. '07
Unemployment rate 

1991 8
1992 9.9
1993 10
1994 9.3
1995 8
1996 8.3
1997 6.9
1998 6.6
1999 5.9
2000 5.4
2001 5.7
2002 6.8
2003 7
2004 6.5
2005 5.3
2006 4.7
2007 4.8*
*estimate, avg through Aug.
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