At mid-year, crime in the city of Los Angeles was down for the 10th consecutive year, including significant reductions in violent and gang-related crimes, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and police Chief Charlie Beck announced today.
However, despite the decline, homicides in the San Fernando Valley are up 52 percent, and the increase is primarily due to a rise in the Foothill and North Hollywood areas, according to the Los Angeles Daily News. Last year, there had been four homicides in Foothill and three in North Hollywood at this time, while this year, there have been nine in Foothill and seven in North Hollywood. The Foothill Division also patrols the area of North Hollywood north of Saticoy Street and east of the Hollywood (170) Freeway.
Overall, there have been 32 homicides in the seven LAPD divisions in the Valley this year, compared with 21 at that point last year, according to the Daily News. Citywide, homicides are level, with 147 this year, compared to 148 the first half of last year, and every Valley division has seen decreases in overall violent crime.
The homicides in the North Hollywood Division's area have included a double homicide on June 14 that resulted in the suspect being chased and shot to death by LAPD officers, as well as a stabbing death in Studio City's South Weddington Park that police believe was a domestic dispute. See more:
Crime Down Around Los Angeles
Despite a 3.6 percent uptick in the number of reported rapes in the city, total violent crimes were down 8.8 percent to 8,999 during the first six months of the year compared to the same period in 2011.
Beck reported a 2.7 percent surge in car break-ins and 2.6 percent increase in personal thefts, increases he attributed to the state's realignment of non-violent prisoners from state prisons to county jails or early releases.
"To say that (realignment) has not had an effect would be hiding from the reality of this subject," Beck said.
Despite the increases several categories, overall property crimes were down 1 percent due to declines in burglaries and stolen vehicles.
Villaraigosa said the city is safer than it has been since 1952, calling the decade of crime reduction a "historic positive trend."
The number of murders totaled 147 during the first half of the year, down one from the first six months of 2011 and putting the city on track to remain below 300 murders for the third year in a row.
"It wasn't so long ago that this city was known as the murder capital of the United States, and that is not true anymore, and it will never be true again," Beck said.
The mayor and police chief gave much of the credit for the reduction of violent crime in the city to the mayor's Office of Gang Reduction and Youth Development, which does gang intervention and prevention work in targeted areas of the city.
The total number of gang-related crimes was down 16.2 percent over the first six months of 2011, including 150 fewer gang-related shootings seven fewer murders for a total of 78 gang-related homicides.
The number of people shot in the city was down 18.1 percent to 572.
Beck attributed the repeated increases in crime to Villaraigosa's commitment to growing the police force. Budget cuts the last few years have forced Beck to hire only to keep the force at its current size, not grow it. Villaraigosa said today he would not propose any layoffs of sworn police officers.