Downtown Sees Crime Drop


Crime in downtown L.A. continues to drop--a little--from its 2006 highs, and greater cooperation with downtown business improvement districts and greater police emphasis on minor "quality of life" enforcement are credited with helping.

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Los Angeles Downtown News has more details:

When it comes to Downtown crime, 2007 was the year everything changed. Under the Safer Cities Initiative, which deployed 50 extra cops to Skid Row, annual crime in Central Division plummeted 30%. In 2008, Downtown saw a slight jump in overall crime...

Now, there is a reversal of last year's reversal, and although the Downtown Los Angeles population has grown, the area is on pace to record another significant drop. As of Nov. 14, Central had tabulated 3,221 violent and property crimes, a 7.8% decrease from the same period last year. The number also represents a roughly 3% year-to-date drop from 2007 levels....

Beyond the improved community partnerships and better communication -- [Capt. Blake] Chow also emails a weekly crime update to more than 200 individuals and organizations -- Central [Division] has been even more proactive enforcing low-level crimes such as drinking in public and aggressive panhandling. The focus on so-called "quality of life" crimes is meant to prevent more serious incidents that can stem from minor offenses, Chow said....

Lately, Skid Row cops have put a renewed focus on enforcing public drunkenness laws, as those arrests are up 57%, from 738 last year at this time to 1,160 so far in 2009. There has been a similar crackdown on other quality of life crimes. Prostitution arrests are up 700%, from 4 to 32, and liquor law arrests, including violations by stores selling alcohol to intoxicated customers, are up 228%, from 43 to 141.....While the effort has been largely praised by businesses and many social service providers, it also provoked rabid criticism from civil rights advocates, most prominently the Los Angeles Community Action Network.

Beyond the specific efforts of LAPD's Central downtown, crime figures nationally are going down, even in our economic hard times. See this New York Times report:

Preliminary statistics from the Uniform Crime Report, the Federal Bureau of Investigation's annual compilation of crime reports from local and state police agencies, showed that murders declined by 4.4 percent in 2008, rapes declined 2.2 percent, robberies declined 1.1 percent and assaults dropped 3.2 percent.

Property crimes were also down over all. Burglaries increased 1.3 percent, but motor vehicle theft dropped by 13 percent and arson declined 3.9 percent.

Past City of Angles reporting on overall L.A. crime rates, which seem to be going down even more than in downtown.

The image associated with this post was taken by Flickr user Kevitivity. It was used under user Creative Commons license.

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