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Halloween shooting: Do you fear random violence in your neighborhood?

November 7, 2010 |  8:08 am


A memorial was held Saturday night for Aaron Shannon Jr., the boy fatally shot in his backyard on Halloween.

6a00d8341c630a53ef013488024286970c-320wiCrime in his South L.A. neighborhood has dropped in recent years, but some residents told The Times' Scott Gold that they remain fearful about street violence:

It's a place that suffered decades of declines as jobs disappeared and gangs took root. "If I could afford to move, I would," 78-year-old Mary Hall said Friday. She lives around the corner from the duplex where Aaron was shot, in the house she and her husband bought in 1956 after moving from Mississippi. Back then, the neighborhood felt safe. Now, she said, her 6-year-old great-grandson does all of his playing indoors. Asked about the changes she has seen in the neighborhood, Hall called over her shoulder: "Oh, Lord."

Since January 2007, at least 46 other homicides have taken place within a mile of the yard where Aaron was fatally wounded, according to Crime L.A., The Times' crime database.

Florence, the South Los Angeles neighborhood where the shooting took place, ranks among the highest for violent crime in the county, according to The Times' analysis of crime reports recorded in the interactive database.

Florence was ninth-highest per capita for serious violent crime -- including homicide, rape, aggravated assault and robbery -- among 211 neighborhoods and cities patrolled by the LAPD or Los Angeles County sheriff, The Times found. About 434 violent crimes were reported in Florence, a neighborhood of nearly 47,000 residents, in the six months ending Sept. 26. Those crimes include 12 homicides and 226 aggravated assaults.

Do you worry about random crime in your neighborhood? Tell us how you feel.