Following sharp increases in violent crime and homicide rates, Police Chief Micheal Moore speculated in a City Commission broadcasting on Tuesday, Oct. 19 that homicides this year will total more than 300 homicides, a marked increase to a previously declining rate. 

Moore said there’s been a 25% increase in homicides based on data dating from Jan 1––Oct. 17 compared to a 2019 collection documenting the same period. Current statistics surpass the total homicides in 2019 and 2018, both of which were 253 and 260 respectively.

LAPD crime data has been documenting city-wide crime on a week by week basis––seeing a 44% increase from July to September and a 5.6% increase from September to October––amounting to a total citywide homicide increase of 24.9 percent from 2019 to 2020. 

Rates of these imposing proportions, however, are a stark contrast within recent documentation of L.A. county crime rates and demonstrates a startling uptick reminiscent of L.A. violence that has not been seen since the 80s or 90s. Though this era does contain substantially more with 1000 killings, according to the Los Angeles Times. 

This rate of 300 killings is especially noteworthy when taking into account the fact that it hasn’t been seen since 2009, with homicides at a low of 312. Furthermore, since the year 2002, homicides decreased from a rate of 658 killings to a low of 260 in 2019 with occasional increases.

A report produced by Crosstown, a nonprofit news organization based out of the USC Annenberg School of Journalism, paints an alarming portrait of this sharp increase as well, underscoring the vast swaths of violence now evident throughout the city. 

Between January and September 2020, 239 people were murdered in Los Angeles compared to 199 people during the same period in 2019. Homicide rates within the southeast district in L.A. have increased substantially, including in Compton and Paramount, according to a separate body of data with a 200% increase in homicide rates from September to October and a 26% overall increase from 2019 to 2020. 

Economic struggles due to COVID 19 are probably causing the uptick in crime, said Moore, with police services and interventions being directly or indirectly reduced as a result of the pandemic, consequently leaving less help to victims of violent crime and less aid to prevent retaliatory violent attacks.

While there has been an overall decrease of 3.3% in overall violent crime from 2019 to 2020, bumps of 4.7% from July to September and 2.9% from August to October make a strong argument for Moore’s prediction.

The pandemic has greatly drained the city budget and further, a $150 million budget has left the Police Department forced to reorganize, with more cuts forecasted in the near future as well. Addressing these issues of violence will prove to be a challenge to the LAPD’s somewhat limited resources. 

Written ByDaniel Seidman

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