Despite Recent Spike, Crime in L.A. Ain't What it Used to Be

Despite Recent Spike, Crime in L.A. Ain't What it Used to Be
File photo by Marc Cooper/Flickr

If you were here during the 1990s, then you remember the dark times.

In 1992 a record was set for the number of homicides in Los Angeles County: 2,589. Of course, the L.A. riots had an impact on that figure. But crime was bad on our streets for much of the decade.

Fast-forward to 2015's year-end stats: 649 people perished as a result of homicide in the county. There's been a spike in crime in the last year or so, but it's still in a deep valley compared with the Clinton years.

In 2014, 587 people were murdered. In 2013, the New York Daily News, citing 10 straight years of declining crime, called L.A. "the safest big city in America."

A new analysis by Protection 1 Home Security says we came in 19th place nationwide when murders per capita last year was calculated. The firm says Los Angeles had about 6.6 murders per every 100,000 residents in 2015.

(See a map that shows where all last year's homicides in L.A. took place, here.)

Compare that with homicide champion St. Louis, which saw 58.9 per 100,000 people last year, the analysis found.

"Seven of the 10 major cities with the lowest murder rates are located in the West," the analysis states. "San Diego and San Jose, both in California, rank at the bottom."

Chicago had the most murders overall in 2015: 465. "Los Angeles had the sixth highest total number of murders for a city in the United States," a spokeswoman for Protection 1 said.

Handguns, used in 5,562 homicides nationwide in 2014, were by far the most popular weapon, the insurance firm said. In fact, it said, seven of 10 murders in the United States are committed with firearms.

The analysis found a few things in common in cities with the highest murder rates.

"Across the board, these unusually violent metro areas share similar economic hardships," it stated. "In addition to murder rates that are five to 13 times the national average, these cities have lower incomes, higher poverty rates and higher unemployment rates than the rest of the country."

The security firm looked at data from the FBI, U.S. Census and other sources to come up with its conclusions.

Twice each minute, someone in the country is violently attacked, Protection 1 found. Luckily L.A. is no longer one of the places where that's most likely to happen.


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