Police statistics show that for the first time in years, L.A. is on track to end the year with an increase, instead of a decrease, in crime.
Increase in Crime
Compared to this time last year, the city’s overall violent crime is up 7.6%. This increase was driven by aggravated assaults (meaning attacks that involved weapons or serious injury), which jumped almost 20% from last year. This increase marks a large break from what the city has seen in the last 11 years – during which violence dropped by tw-thirds. In 2014, the LAPD has reported about 1,500 violent crimes per month and almost 1,000 more offenses.
Reporting and Domestic Violence
When it comes to why this increase might be – LAPD officials have attributed some of it to the department’s more accurate reporting of crimes. It also looks like there has been a spike in serious domestic cases, which are reported as aggravated assaults, thus driving the increase as well. Assaults make up almost half of reported violent offenses. As a result of increases in assaults, the total level of crime has also risen. While these numbers have increased, there continues to be a decline in homicides and robberies.
Only time will tell if this is a new trend, or just an anomaly. Since over the past 11 years, the city has become accustomed to falling crime, it seems this new uptick – if it is a new trend – would pose a problem for LAPD as well as city leaders. Criminal justice professor Jay Wachtel said more time is needed “to distinguish what part of the increase is due to the change in reporting policy and what you can attribute to a real uptick in crime.”
Source: Los Angeles Times, L.A.’s long-declining violent crime total on pace to rise this year, October 3, 2014
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