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LAPD: fewest summer homicides in 40 years

September 2, 2008 |  3:36 pm

Summer slayings in L.A. fewest since '67 summer of love

Amid the ongoing drop in overall city crime rates, Los Angeles recorded the fewest number of summer homicides in more than 40 years.

From the beginning of June through the end of August, there were 84 homicides in Los Angeles -- a level of relative calm not seen since the summer of 1967, when the city had 79 killings. By comparison, summer bloodshed in the city peaked in 1991, when there were 323 slayings during the same three months.

Police Chief William J. Bratton highlighted the numbers during his weekly briefing Tuesday to the Police Commission, the civilian body that oversees the Los Angeles Police Department. So far this year, he said, all categories of violent and property crimes, including rape, robbery, aggravated assault and homicide, are lower than the comparable 2007 figures. The number of reported rapes, for example, is down by more than 14%, and the year's homicide rate is down by 8.5%, spurred in part by a 27% drop in gang-related killings.

"Its a continuing good-news story that's moving forward," Bratton said.

The department, he said, is on pace to meet its goal of a 5% overall drop in the so-called Part 1 crimes this year. Bratton attributed the continued decline in part to "putting cops on the dots" -- sounding his oft-repeated mantra that refers to the department's use of detailed crime maps to redeploy officers to hot spots. Early efforts in the mayor's revamped anti-gang initiative and the hiring of hundreds of new officers are also contributing, Bratton said.

—Joel Rubin