Southern California -- this just in

« Previous Post | L.A. NOW Home | Next Post »

L.A. homicide numbers keep rising, up 5% compared to same period last year

April 6, 2010 |  2:53 pm
Officers cordon-off and investigate a shooting in the "Hot Spot" restaurant in North Hollywood.

The recent increase in the number of killings in Los Angeles continued last week.

Over the last several days, the city experienced 12 more homicides, raising the number of killings this year to 82, according to Los Angeles Police Department  figures. That is four more killings than during the same period last year, a 5% increase.

Deadly violence has been on the rise in recent weeks, steadily erasing the gains made during the relatively quiet start to 2010, when the LAPD posted double-digit declines in the homicide rate. More than a third of all the killings so far this year have occurred in the last three weeks, according to LAPD figures.

Although it is not uncommon for the homicide rate to spike at times, the dramatic increase has LAPD detectives beginning to wonder quietly if the recent numbers represent a temporary uptick or the beginning of a more prolonged rise. 

In his weekly crime update to the civilian board that oversees the department, LAPD Chief Charlie Beck said the department was continuing to concentrate detectives and officers in the areas bearing the brunt of the violence. He said, however, that the city’s on-going budget crisis is making it increasingly  difficult for the department to handle such demands.

Because there is little money available to pay officers overtime, Beck has instituted a policy requiring cops instead to take time off as compensation. The result has been a significant decrease in the number of cops available for duty. Overall violent crime in the city, including rapes and robberies, is down almost 10% compared to the same period last year, figures show. Property crimes, such as burglaries and auto thefts, are down a similar amount.

--Joel Rubin at LAPD headquarters

Photo: Police respond to restaurant shooting in Valley Village that left four people dead. KTLA News