Crime rate in Los Angeles continues downward trend
If the statistics hold through the end of Tuesday, Los Angeles will see crime decline for the eleventh straight year in 2013.
L.A. has seen a major decline in murders over the past three decades. According to LAPD Commander Andrew Smith, violent crime peaked in the early 90's. At the time, he worked in the Newton Division in South LA.
"The carnage that you would see," Smith said. "I mean, there would be four or five homicides sometimes just in one night, in one ten-square-mile area that I was working."
Back then, L.A. had about 1,200 murders in a year. This year has seen about 250. As of December 21, the City of L.A. saw a 17 percent drop in homicides from the year before, as well as an overall 12 percent decline in violent crimes and 4 percent decrease in property crimes. The portion of Los Angeles County patrolled by the L.A. County Sheriff's Department, meanwhile, experienced a 2 percent decrease in homicides, 9 percent decline in violent crimes, and 1 percent drop in property crimes.
Charis Kubrin, a criminology professor at UC-Irvine, said while the crime drop has slowed elsewhere in the country, it's continued in L.A.
"Why L.A. continues to go down while other cities either don't change or go up, that we still don't know the answer to," she said. It may take a couple more years before the data produces reasons behind the trend, she said.
But while the county and city have seen drops, certain neighborhoods, like South L.A. and Compton, have either stayed the same or seen an increase in homicides in the past few years.
"This crime drop is not experienced equally by everyone," Kubrin said.
In addition to figuring out what's made L.A. successful in bringing down crime, she said, researchers like her are focusing on why some areas have been bypassed by the trend.