Crime rising in parts of Southern California
Overall crime increased in some parts of Southern California in 2012 but remained down in the city of Los Angeles.
In communities covered by the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department, homicides were down slightly from 2011. There have been 163 so far this year, compared to 171 for all of 2011.
As of the end of November, property crime was up 4.3% and violent crime 2.9%, leaving overall serious crimes in the sheriff’s territory up about 4%.
Final numbers for the year won’t be available for a few days, but Sheriff Lee Baca said he was pleased with the numbers given the tough economic times.
“It has been an excellent year given all that is going on,” Baca said.
The Orange County Sheriff’s Department saw an overall increase of 4% in violent and property crimes in the 12 cities it contracts, as well as in unincorporated Orange County.
Violent crime increased by 2.5%, while property crime increased by 4.2%, according to data provided by the department.
In Anaheim, Orange County’s largest city, police saw a 17% increase in property crime through November and a 5% increase in violent crime, said police Sgt. Bob Dunn.
“I think anything that’s an increase is something of concern to us,” he said.
Overall crime in Los Angeles fell for a 10th straight year in 2012, but the city recorded small increases in petty thefts and homicides.
Overall, crime declined by about 2% in Los Angeles, fueled by drops in many serious crimes including robbery, assault and auto thefts, according to preliminary figures collected by the Los Angeles Police Department. The decline was smaller than in previous years because of jumps in lower-level crimes such as thefts from vehicles and personal thefts
There were no obvious explanations for the increase in thefts. Some crime experts said the statistics suggest the years of economic hardship facing many Angelenos may have finally had an effect on crime. LAPD Chief Charlie Beck agreed but also cited the state’s controversial prison depopulation plan as a possible factor in the increase.
The 297 killings that occurred through Thursday morning were three more than occurred during the same period last year, making it unlikely the city would finish the year below 300 homicides -- a benchmark reached in 2010 and 2011.
-- Richard Winton, Nicole Santa Cruz and Joel Rubin
Photo: L.A. Sheriff officials at crime scene. Credit: L.A. Times