Violent crimes drop in L.A. County in 2011, sheriff says
Los Angeles County sheriff's officials rolled out more positive crime statistics Wednesday, boasting a 14% drop in violent crime in 2011 compared to the year before.
Homicides, matching a similar trend in L.A. Police Department patrol areas, were down by more than 46% in the sheriff's jurisdiction compared to five years ago.
Sheriff's spokesman Steve Whitmore has attributed the continuing decline, at least in part, to anonymous crime tip lines and increased vigilance by neighborhood watch groups.
"Right now the communities seem to be banding together to fight crime," Whitmore said. "We can't take the complete credit, of course not."
The continued decline in violent crime has come despite a tough economy. In sheriff's patrol areas, criminal homicides, forcible rapes, robberies and aggravated assaults were all down last year compared to 2010, according to preliminary department data.
The Sheriff's Department polices three-fourths of Los Angeles County, including swaths of unincorporated areas and individual contract cities. Approximately 4 million residents live within the department's patrol areas.
-- Robert Faturechi