Violent crime in Los Angeles was up 2.9 percent during the first half of the year, compared with the same period last year, with aggravated assaults up 12 percent, according to city crime statistics released today.
Despite the increases, city leaders declared that overall mid-year crime rates -- with property crimes factored in -- were down 5.4 percent.
Mayor Eric Garcetti, who joined Police Chief Charlie Beck in South Los Angeles to announce the statistics, pointed to the overall decline in both property and violent crimes as a sign that the city is headed toward a 12th consecutive year of dropping crime rates.
Garcetti attributed the overall decline to "smart, data-driven policing, good leadership, community partnership and a focus on prevention as well as enforcement and an LAPD that works with, not against, the communities it serves."
Beck said the department will be "dissecting" the figures and looking into why the number of aggravated assaults shot up by 466 reported cases -- from 3,868 in the first half of 2013 to 4,334 during the same period this year.
"It is not a universal trend throughout the city. It is sporadic and we will keep a close eye on this as it develops," Beck said.
Violent crime overall grew by 239 reported cases, rising from 8,610 reported cases in the first half of 2013 to 8,371 in the first half of this year.
Other categories saw drops. Property crime fell 7 percent, murders were down 1.5 percent and gang-related crime dropped 13.1 percent. Robberies dropped 5.7 percent, burglaries 14.6 percent, motor vehicle thefts 7 percent and larcenies 4.8 percent.
Gang-related crimes dropped 13.1 percent, though some individual types of gang-related crimes saw increases, with carjackings up 38.9 percent, from 18 reported cases in 2013 to 25 during the first half of 2014. Gang-related arson was up 50 percent, from two reported cases in 2008 to three this year.
"Reducing crime is not just about cops. It's about the programs that the city puts forward ... making sure that everybody recognizes that they have a role in public safety in Los Angeles," Beck said.
--City News Service