According to officials, homicides were down six percent and gun violence was down 11 percent in Los Angeles last year compared to 2016. There were 271 homicides through Dec. 16, compared with the 289 homicides in 2016. Unfortunately, the number of violent crimes was up for the fourth year in a row, driven by a six percent increase in robberies and a five percent increase in aggravated assaults. In a written statement, Mayor Eric Garcetti stated,
This past year marked an important moment in our drive to end gun violence as we reduced the number of homicides and shooting victims. I thank Chief Beck and the LAPD for their continued work to make Los Angeles the safest city in America.
At a Police Commission meeting earlier last month, Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck said that the rise in aggravated assaults was due partly to ongoing adjustments in how the crimes are categorized. This was an issue that first surfaced in 2014, when a Los Angeles Times investigation found that the LAPD had misclassified thousands of aggravated assaults as minor offenses, which artificially lowered the city’s violent crime rate. However, Los Angeles County Sheriff Jim McDonnell believes that criminal justice reforms such as Proposition 47 and AB 109 that were designed to reduce the prison and jail population have resulted in more people on the streets committing crimes. Proponents of the measures, however, believe there is no evidence they that the measures led to more crime last year. Hopefully, the number of violent crimes will decrease this year and not continue the trend of increasing year-to-year as it has for the past couple of years.