The Los Angeles Police Department's most-recent crime statistics reveal a 2.5 percent increase in murders compared to the same time last year. The latest "compstat" report states that there were 83 homicides in the city through April 10. For the same time frame last year that number was 81. While two is no huge spike, it's a far cry from the continuing slide in serious crime that has been touted by the department in recent years.
It's also a challenge to Los Angeles police Chief Charlie Beck, who has inherited the LAPD after a period of growth and good fortune gave way to cutbacks and a stifling city budget deficit. Nineteen people were killed in the second half of March, and April hasn't been much better, with four men killed in a single incident in Valley Village April 3.
And, as you can see by our own homicide reports, it's been a busy April indeed for the city's homicide detectives.
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Homicide detectives are complaining that cuts in overtime mean that some murders will go unsolved. Police department budget cuts have "a serious impact on our ability to respond to some of the large, violent incidents we've been experiencing lately," Beck told the Police Commission last week. "That is especially true of homicide investigations because of the long hours they demand."