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“Mind-boggling” drop in crime in Los Angeles

Los Angeles (L.A.) had fewer crimes in 2011 than it did in 1957, “mind-boggling,” according to Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. L.A., like other big cities in the United States, is experiencing such a steep drop in crime that it has experts baffled. Crime in L.A. fell for the NINTH straight year in 2011 and dropped to levels not seen in 50 years. Not only did L.A. have fewer crimes in 2011 than in 1957, the city ALSO had over 1.5 million MORE people!

According to an article by Sandy Banks in the L.A. Times:

“The numbers are mind-boggling,” Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa told me. “You can walk down Main Street in the middle of the day or night. That’s something we haven’t seen in my lifetime.”

Some of the possible reasons for the drop in crime include: better policing, more community involvement, more criminals in prison, fewer drugs, new technologies, and a lessened influence of violent gangs.

The statistics show a RISE in burglaries, homicides, and robberies in the downtown core of L.A., but these stats likely reflect the fact that downtown is now busy with people, homes, and activities. Ms. Banks notes that:

“The area’s crime stats might have been better years ago, but downtown at night resembled a ghost town then.”

The article by Banks looks at the differences between statistics and human perceptions. The “crime mapping” feature of the L.A. Times looks at statistics alone, particularly with regard to recent significant increases in crime.

L.A., and the rest of Los Angeles County, experienced THOUSANDS fewer serious crimes in 2011 than in 2010.

“Homicides, an important bellwether for violence levels in general, finished the year nearly even with the historically low rate of killing that Los Angeles reached in 2010. The LAPD tallied 298 killings in 2011, making it the second consecutive year the city experienced fewer than 300 homicides. It is a benchmark that was unimaginable amid the gang violence and crack cocaine epidemic of the 1990s, when the homicide rate was four times as high.

Throughout the rest of L.A. County, which is patrolled by the sheriff and individual cities’ police departments, there were 283 homicides — a 12% decline from the previous year — according to a Times analysis of coroner’s data.

Other categories of violent and property crime, meanwhile, continued the downward trend they have followed for the last several years. The number of reported robberies, aggravated assaults, burglaries and auto thefts in the city through Dec. 24, for example, was down between 3% and 9% compared with the same period the previous year, LAPD statistics showed.”

Law enforcement officials have warned that California’s recent plan to deal with severe prison overcrowding will put more offenders on the streets and increase crime this year.

-Bill at

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