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Homicide down in most parts of Los Angeles County

October 3, 2007 |  4:24 pm

A note on statistics to date:

Deaths from homicide so far in 2007 are as low as they have been in recent memory.

Most parts of Los Angeles County have seen significant drops in killings. As reported previously on this site, the coroner's homicide death count, which differs somewhat from the counts kept by police agencies, indicates that the whole county is trending downward in homicide, with killings roughly 13% below where they were last year throughout the area, including the city of Los Angeles and smaller cities.

Bullet_hole_200_e_75th Homicides have dropped particularly steeply in L.A. City proper. At the end of last week, the LAPD reported just 296 homicides citywide compared to 366 at the same time last year--a 19% drop.

Just two of the city's precincts, LAPD 77th Street Division (the area around Florence and Vermont avenues) and LAPD Southeast (Watts) by themselves account for about half of L.A. city's overall decline.

The last time homicides in Watts were about as low as they are now was in 1998, when the precinct had just 38 homicides in a single year. This year, as of the end of September, there had been 26 homicides in Watts.

But the good news is not limited to the LAPD. Agencies outside the city of Los Angeles have also seen declines. Inglewood, for example, which adjoins LAPD 77th Street Division, has seen homicide fall especially sharply. As of this week, Inglewood had seen a 53% drop in homicides to 14 as of this week.

Areas covered by the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department--this does not include L.A. city--have also seen a drop in homicides, about 12% overall.

Of course, the trend is patchy, and not all areas are down equally. The crucial sheriff's region that includes the Compton, Century and Lennox stations is down just 6% in homicides from last year.

And a few places, such as Long Beach, have seen slight increases. Long Beach has had 36 murders so far this year, compared to 32 at this time last year.

(Above, a bullet ripped through this solid-wood window frame in LAPD's 77th Division earlier this year).