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LAPD: Homicide, rape and aggravated assaults increased in 2014

LAPD Chief Charlie Beck at Occupy LA
Andrea Domanick
Violent crime, including murder and rape, was up last year in Los Angeles, the LAPD said Monday.

After more than a decade of plummeting violent crime rates, Los Angeles had more murders and rapes in 2014 than it did the previous year, and violent crime overall increased 14 percent - due in large part to a jump in aggravated assaults, according to LAPD crime statistics released Monday. 

There were 260 murders last year, compared to 251 in 2013. Rapes increased more significantly - from 764 in 2013 to 924 in 2014. 

Chief Charlie Beck said despite those jumps in crime, Los Angeles is safer on a per capita basis than at any time in the past 65 years. Overall crime dropped 1.6 percent last year due to a dip in property crimes. Those went down 4.6 percent.

"We are safer than we have been since 1949 when this city had no freeways and a population that barely exceeded 2 million," Beck said.

Mayor Eric Garcetti attributed that jump to the reclassification of aggravated assaults last year - many had been misclassified as simple assaults, a lower level crime. As a result, those crimes were up 28 percent last year. That's because of how the LAPD reclassified some crimes.

Another part of the increase: alcohol-related brawls and domestic violence reports. 

To address the rise in domestic violence cases, the mayor announced an expansion of the city's Domestic Abuse Response Teams, which are made up of volunteers who can connect victims with services. Those teams will be in 21 LAPD divisions by the end of the year.

"The survivor of domestic violence may often feel isolated, alone, go back to that home because they feel that there is no person reaching out a hand to help them get that job that they might not have, find the shelter that they need, take care of their children and the schooling," Garcetti said, noting the important role DART teams can play in ending the cycle of violence.

The LAPD released this video, about the department's plans for 2015, at today's press conference: