As 2014 drew to a close, Los Angeles Police Department Chief Charlie Beck revealed some very different “year-end statistics” regarding crime in LA. While for over a decade there have been big drops in crime, it seems that the numbers are taking a different direction – upwards – for the first time in 12-years.
Rise in Crime
Year end figures provided by the LAPD showed a decline in property crimes. But the decline was only in property crimes. There was more than a 12% jump in violent offenses. The city’s violence total – made up by four types of crime – had increased. Robberies and homicides increased slightly, rapes climbed 12.4%, and aggravated assaults (attacks involving a weapon or serious injury) rose 24.2% in comparison to 2013.
Beck also noted the department has seen a dramatic rise in cases of domestic abuse – four times as many cases as seen in 2013. Beck attributes this to national campaigns and outreach programs urging victims of domestic violence to step forward. But this surge has not been seen in neighboring areas. Criminal justice experts weighing in on the subject think the rise in domestic violence cases can most likely be attributed to the LAPD’s effort to be more accurate in classifying crimes. “Things don’t quadruple from one year to the next,” said James Alan Fox, criminology professor at Northeastern University. “There is no real reason to believe that all of a sudden men and women are abusing their partners more than ever.”
Recent Investigations into Crime Reporting
Recent investigations into crime reporting has shown many crimes miss-classified. For example; nearly 1,200 serious violent crimes were classified as low-level offenses during a recent one-year period. Police often noted aggravated assaults as minor incidents. According to Beck, this misclassification problem has been addressed, thus providing a potential reason behind the spike in aggravated assaults. Still, experts say determining how much of the increase was due to improvements in record-keeping is difficult. You’d have to go back through previous records and update them accordingly to see a true comparative rate. Now that the LAPD has updated their methods of classification, it could take years to see accurate numbers that would allow for accurate statistical trends to be identified.
Working with an Attorney
If you’ve been wrongly accused of a crime, you should immediately contact a criminal defense lawyer.
Source: Los Angeles Times, L.A. violent crime rises for the first time in 12 years, LAPD says, December 30, 2014
The Law Office of Peter Berlin – Los Angeles Criminal Defense Attorney
16130 Ventura Boulevard, Suite 570, Los Angeles, CA 91436