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Recent killings in L.A. nearly erase gains in city's homicide rate

Photo: A man walks through the apartment building where 

Karine Hakobyan lived. Hakobyan's body was found in the driver's seat of

 her car last Friday night at her apartment. She had been shot. (Katie 

Falkenberg / For The Times)

A recent series of killings in Los Angeles has nearly erased impressive gains made this year on the city’s homicide rate, LAPD Chief Charlie Beck said Tuesday.

Over the last 11 days, 19 people have been killed. The bloodshed brings the number of killings this year to 70, Beck said during his weekly crime briefing to the Los Angeles Police Commission. Before the rise in violence, the LAPD had been posting double-digit decreases in the homicide rate compared to last year, in which a record low 314 people were killed.  Now, the city has experienced only two fewer killings compared to the same period last year.

Beck cautioned that spikes in violence and periods of calm are “the nature of homicide in Los Angeles,” and expressed confidence that police would be able to stem the recent uptick.  All but a few of the 19 killings were gang-related and the result of isolated flare-ups between warring gangs primarily in the city’s Hollenbeck and Foothill areas, Beck said.

To counter the bloodshed, the chief has ordered the temporary redeployment of officers from quieter parts of the city to those experiencing the killings.  He said he also hoped his recent decision to bolster the ranks of the LAPD’s 21 area stations with more than 150 officers previously assigned to specialized units would help matters.

The increased number of homicides, Beck emphasized, underscores the difficulty of policing the city during the ongoing fiscal crisis that has taken a toll on department budgets.  Unable to pay officers for overtime hours, Beck is requiring them to take days off from work instead.  The resulting decrease in manpower has made it hard for department commanders to deploy the additional officers needed when violence flares.

Overall, the rate of violent crime in the city, including rape and robbery, remains down nearly 15% over the same period last year, the chief reported.  Property crimes, such as auto thefts and burglaries, are also down.

-- Joel Rubin at LAPD headquarters


Photo: Hollywood apartment complex where a woman was slain Friday. Credit: Los Angeles Times

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Comments () | Archives (22)

I never have and never will understand the reasons that would cause someone to take the life of another. For all the crap that the LAPD gets - talking about corruption and laziness and overpayment etc - the fact that at the end of the day these people are willing to put their own lives at risk to protect the citizens of LA is really humbling.

Okay - now for the slower learners:

The temperature of the earth is not going up.

Crime rates are not going down.

I dont understand, this Villagrosa keeps insisting that crime is down on our streets.


Chief Beck, we are all making sacrafices during these stressful economic times. I'm trying to adjust our budget after DWP and the city council approved another rate increase. I'll avoid calling 911 and use my 9mm instead.
Thanks for your concern over our public safety.

i think lapd is doing a pretty good job. about fern man's point, it might be good to have more cops in poor areas than in rich areas, but i don't know how they are actually distributed.

Bound to go up some day, and yes Homicides will go up more in residential areas like Pacoima, which has the majority Parolees in the Valley. I would guess about 80 percent in the northwest corner of the valley.

Cut prision populations, cut police overtime, cut city attorneys and court staff. The whole system will slow down and thus more bad guys will remain on the streets. More bad guys = more crime. Watch the stats rise...

i get treated worse by the l.a.p.d than by gangmembers. they at least for the most part leave people alone who aren't in a gang . i get harrassed once a week by those clowns in black and white just because i'm young and drive a nice car. sure, let's let these clowns take over for a bit since they are the biggest gang in los angeles.

Fern Man, I have noticed many of the same things. It seems LAPD is focussed on revenue generation (tickets), as much as fighting actual crime. I can't remember the last time I saw a police officer in my westside neighborhood in something other than a traffic enforcement (speed trap) function. On Sunset, they harass kids for cruising around and write a bunch of tickets. I would imagine cops and the people alike would prefer those guys to be fighting real crime.

If you think the crime rate isn't going to keep going up, think again... If you believe that, you also believe that the Mayor and City Council really have your best interests at heart and will do what's best for the City.

LAPD does not have enough officers to keep every corner safe whether it is in tourist locations, "rich" locations, or in the "ghetto". Obviously there needs to be a large police presence where money is being spent (resident or tourist areas). There also needs to be a large presence where the gang crime is occuring. But if LAPD doens't have enough officers in general, how can they be expected to police efficiently anywhere?

With the lack of money to pay for overtime, like the article said, officers are earning "comp time" instead of cash. When they reach a certian number of hours they are forced to take more days off in addition to their regular days off, thus creating a different problem. That problem is those officers being sent home are not on the street looking for bad guys or answering 911 calls.

Unfortunetly things are going to get worse!

William Bratton was no dummy!

so what 300 murders for a city of 7 million isn't bad.

Good, keep the police in rich areas, they are the ones who pay the taxes which keep the cops on the street anyways

Havoc, because crime is down, way down. If you actually read the article and have looked at the numbers, you will see that Homicides are still lower than last year, and have been going down for the last 7 years. Also, violent crime is still down 15% in the city from last year and has been decreasing steadily also for 7 years.

Any murder or crime is unfortunate, but be thankful that we dont live in Chicago, or Philadelphia or Baltimore or SF and any number of major cities where crime rates are higher than LA's. Keep up the good work LAPD and hopefully we dont have to release any more of these dumb ass criminals from jails. Three strikes works and so do locking up these bastards.

Los Angeles is the only city I know of that pays their officers in compensatory time off, and absolutely no cash. It's only March, wait for the summer....

why won't you post my comments? i did not say anything crude or untrue...

Dan...good idea, since the Mayor and City Council imposed furloughs on the 911 operators as of a few months ago, because ya know, public safety isn't REALLY that much of a priority...no matter how loudly they claim that it is.

What did u think was going to happen? The overtime cuts mean less officers on the streets. People don't understand with court and arrests that take several hours to complete, the average officer completes an average 50 to 60 hour work week... Now u have them staying home

I'm so scared to see the crime in my neighborhood rise. A few Lapd officers I've met made an extra effort to patrol my street and the school next to me because I asked them. When I saw them last I was told they wouldn't be around for at lest two weeks because they worked too much and was forced to take the time off. They told me they would try to have other officers patrol my area but I haven't seen them. Now I see gangmembers drinking and smoking marijuana across from my apartment. I'm scared to walk my kids to school now. Officers Martinez and Sobeski were there every morning like clock work. Now I guess they are at home for being to proactive causing overtime. I can't wait for them to come back. Things are getting bad.

I recently had a chance and sat at a court hearing on gang killings. I am more convinced now that intervention doesn't do any good to the majority of gangster. It is a cultural thing to many of these folks. Children take over the family enterprise and continue to pass on to the next generation. They are not interested in the mainstream American way of life.

The idiot and Mayor of Los Angeles, Antonio Villaraigosa, stated about a year ago, that crime in Los Angeles is less than it was in the 1950's. I grew up in the fifties and went to school in Los Angeles. There were no gangs with guns, and you didn't have much to fear that you'd be a victim of a drive-by shooting.(the name wasn't even around yet) Now I realize some people take the positioin of Mayor too seriously. The fact is, most Mayors are nothing more than the symbol of a city and are supposed to have a degree of levity about them. But Villaraigosa, is neither a funny guy nor a great symbol for Los Angeles.

"Someday a real rain will come and wash all this scum off the streets."
-Travis Bickle "The Taxi Driver"


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L.A. Now is the Los Angeles Times’ breaking news section for Southern California. It is produced by more than 80 reporters and editors in The Times’ Metro section, reporting from the paper’s downtown Los Angeles headquarters as well as bureaus in Costa Mesa, Long Beach, San Diego, San Francisco, Sacramento, Riverside, Ventura and West Los Angeles.
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