Over the last decade, there has been a distinct improvement in LA county crime rates with a decrease in the figures of both property and violent crime. The decline is particularly noteworthy given the worsening economic scenario and just points to the fact that the largest sheriff’s department in the country is doing its job exceedingly well.
However, despite the decrease in LA county crime rates, the area witnesses some of the highest number of criminal incidents in the state of California. With almost 40 criminal complaints being lodged every hour, a lot more has to be done to alleviate the concerns of the residents of this thriving urban pocket.
Where LA crime statistics stand currently?
Almost 350,000 criminal incidents occurred in the Los Angeles area in 2011; this was higher than the annual criminal occurrence rate observed through the ten year period from 1999 to 2008 which was almost 340,000 incidents.
Of this cumulative figure nearly 200,000 complaints were made in cases of property crime while the remainder of this aggregate was taken up by instances of violent crime which included such heinous acts as homicide with just about 9400 cases and aggravated sexual assault with well over 23500 instances. The total crime average for the year also included nearly 62,000 cases of motor vehicle thefts as well.
What the local police are saying about LA County crime rates?
If the Mayor of LA County is to be believed, 2011 has been one of the three best years that the area has witnessed in terms of crime rates. The police reported that there was a reduction of almost 15,000 cases in instances of violent crime including such acts as murder and rape.
It was also stressed that the decline in the rates of crime could directly be attributed to increased police intervention and patrolling as the case numbers had shown a drastic reduction despite a weak economy. In the statement issued by the office of the Mayor and the Sheriff of LA County, the officials had stated that the area is the safest it has been since 1952 in terms of crime.
However, many residents including representatives of the Union Rescue Mission say that the county and the city of Los Angeles have actually returned to the old crime scenario which prevailed before the Safer Cities Initiative was undertaken.
In contrast to this observation, the police offered hard numbers stating that the LAPD had lodged just about 300 complaints of homicide in 2011 which was very close to the historically low numbers of this crime category seen in 2010.Also, it was mentioned that crime figures had plunged across the board with a 3 to 9 percent reduction in cases of assault, robbery, theft and burglary.
However, the law enforcement agency still has an uphill task when it comes to controlling gang and police shootings. Through 2011, approximately 170 gang related killings were reported in the area which was a 6 percent increase over the figures of 2010. The number of shooting involving police officers also went up by a whopping 65% to reach an incident rate of 61 and nearly 25 people were killed in these cases.
Areas of concern
While the police would have the residents believe that there has been an overall improvement in LA County crime rates, some neighborhoods in the area remain a cause for concern. These include Hollywood, Sawtelle, Panorama City and Hancock Park all noted for an alarming increase in both property as well as violent crime.
In Hollywood alone, the number of violent crimes jumped from 24 to 64 within a period of 4 days between the 22nd and the 28th of July, 2011 while property crimes averaged at 62 incidents. Beverly Crest, Pacoima, valley Village, Harbor Gateway and Chinatown all saw a significant rise in the number of property crimes.
Decade long crime rates for LA County
Through the decade that ended in 2008, there was a decrease of almost 3% in the number of criminal complaints filed in the area. Through this time frame the number of violent criminal occurrences fell by almost 30%.
When compared with the LA county crime rates of 2007 and 2011, in the current year, there has been an increase of 2% to 5% in cases filed against forcible rape, robbery and assault with the only decrease being observed in the number of criminal homicide which went down by over 3%.
In terms of property crimes, there was a rise of 1% to 6.5% in all incident categories including burglary, larceny theft and arson except for grand auto theft which went down marginally by less than 1%.
What can be expected from LA crime stats in the future?
Overall, there has been a gradual decline in the criminal incident rates of LA County over the last 12 years. If the current trend continues, the rate of annual crime may very well go down to 220,000 incidents or lower in the near future.