By Edwin Folven, 1/17/2013
Los Angeles crime decreases for 10th consecutive year
The Los Angeles Police Department has released crime statistics for 2012 that show overall crime decreased for the 10th consecutive year citywide, and that violent crime also remains on a downward trend.
Leading the reductions were a 26 percent decrease citywide in rapes, and an 11 percent citywide drop in robberies. Homicides increased by one — from 297 in 2011 to 298 last year — while assaults dropped 6.3 percent from 2011, with 8,269 reported citywide compared to 8,829 the previous year.
The decrease in crime was also apparent in the Los Angeles Police Department’s Wilshire and Hollywood divisions. Although the statistics went up in some categories within the Wilshire Division — such as a jump from five homicides in 2011 to nine in 2012 — overall violent crime decreased 9.4 percent. Capt. Lilian Carranza, the commanding officer for the patrol division at the Wilshire station, said the increase in homicides can partially be attributed to gang violence, mostly toward the southern part of the division near the Santa Monica (10) Freeway. In other categories, robberies decreased 12.9 percent, from 360 in 2011 to 314 in 2012; and assaults decreased by 9.4 percent, from 619 to 561.
“The Wilshire Division has had a decrease for ten years in a row,” Carranza said. “It has a lot to do with community involvement, and the outreach we do in the community. We are looking to make 2013 even safer.”
Officers at the Wilshire Division saw mixed results with property crimes. Burglaries increased 4.1 percent — from 901 in 2011 to 938 last year — and thefts increased 5.7 percent — from 1,229 to 1,299. Carranza said the increase in burglaries is likely attributed to people leaving their doors and windows unlocked, particularly during the warm summer months. The increase in personal thefts was attributed to people leaving electronic devices such as cell phones and laptop computers unattended.
Auto thefts in the Wilshire Division decreased 19.8 percent — from 501 to 402 in 2012 — and vehicle burglaries dropped from 1,332 to 1,164. Carranza credited the division’s “Lock It, Hide It, Keep It” program for the decrease, in which officers handed out flyers warning motorists to keep their vehicles locked and to not leave valuables in view.
In Hollywood, overall crime decreased 3.7 percent, with violent crime going down by 5.3 percent. Lt. Marc Reina, commanding officer for the Hollywood Division Detective Unit, said homicides decreased 25 percent — with six occurring in 2012 compared to eight in 2011. Assaults also went down 22 percent.
Reina added that there was an 8.8 percent increase in robberies, and he attributed it to people not being aware of their surroundings. Some robbers have recently targeted people walking alone and texting or talking on a cell phone, he said.
“It’s street robberies where they are taking electronic devices like cell phones, iPods and iPads,” Reina said. “People are walking and looking down at their devices, and they are being robbed. We ask that people be aware of their surroundings and hide that stuff.”
Reina said most of the robberies and thefts are occurring on or around Hollywood Boulevard and other major streets.
“Our burglaries are down, our auto thefts are down, but we still want to raise awareness,” Reina added. “We are always stressing that people need to be aware of what’s going on, and if you do become a victim of a crime, be a good witness. There are a lot of efforts between the officers and operations, but it takes a partnership [with the public] to maintain the decreases.”