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Good Crime News for Southern California

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The latest FBI crime stats for 2009 have some good news for Southern California.

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The Los Angeles Times has some crime stat details for southland cities:

The number of violent crimes reported in cities across much of Southern California dropped in 2009 from the previous year, according to preliminary figures released Monday by the FBI.

The statistics show that areas of Orange County and the Inland Empire reported double-digit drops in murders, robberies, forcible rapes and aggravated assaults in 2009 compared with the year before.

In Orange County, Garden Grove reported 541 violent crimes last year, compared with 609 in 2008. That was an 11% drop, according to the Justice Department figures.

Anaheim, meanwhile, logged 1184 violent crimes in 2008 -- 128 fewer than the year before. That was about a 10% decrease.

The crime drops came as the nation was reeling from rising unemployment and a bad economy, factors that are commonly believed to help fuel violence.

"I just think it shows how little sociologists know about crime," said Malcolm Klein, a USC professor emeritus who has researched gang violence and crime trends. "Whatever drives crime is crime itself rather than how we respond to it."

Fullerton, alas, had a huge blip of reported assaults in 2009, which its police department attributes to the plethora of bars in town.

For Los Angeles, as the L.A. Weekly notes, we've seen a crime reduction commensurate with that across the nation:

The official FBI statistics for 2009 show that major crime was down nationwide, and the city Los Angeles reflected that trend.

Reported violent crimes in L.A. went from 26,553 in 2008 to 22,454 in 2009; murders went from 384 to 313, and rapes went from 949 to 863. Nationwide violent crime dropped by 5.5 percent.

The FBI's full crime stats report, released today. Past City of Angles blogging on L.A. crime stats.

Image taken by Flickr user 888bailbond. It was used under user Creative Commons license.

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