Crime rate continues downtrend in Los Angeles

16:59, July 13, 2011      

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All categories of violent and property crime fell in the first half of 2011, continuing a nine-year downtrend, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said Tuesday.

Homicides, rapes, robberies, burglaries and car thefts in the 2nd largest U.S. city were down almost 8 percent compared with last year and down nearly 30 percent from 2005, according to the mayor.

Gang-related crimes, which account for 60 percent of homicides in the city, had seen a 16-percent reduction since 2010, he said.

He attributed the nine straight years of overall crime reduction to a "remarkable transformation" of the police department, stressing the importance of hiring more police officers.

"It's not just putting police officers on the street -- it's changing the culture (of the police department)," Villaraigosa said.

"Crime in Los Angeles is at a record low, because our police force is at a record high," he said.

Villaraigosa pledged during his 2005 campaign that he would add 1,000 officers to the police department, which had about 9,180 rank-and-file officers at the time. At least 9,963 officers are now on the city payroll, putting the mayor more than three-quarters of the way toward his goal.

Meanwhile, Los Angeles Police Department Chief Charlie Beck described the crime reduction as a result of the city's "prioritization of public safety."

But he said that, although crime rates were down, assaults on police officers were up 53 percent so far this year, and the number of officers attacked with weapons increased from 68 last year to 104 so far this year.

Source: Xinhua
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