While violent crimes dropped overall, Los Angeles homicides increased by 5 percent in 2004’s first three months, says the Los Angeles Times. Police Chief William Bratton is trying to reduce slayings this year by 20 percent. Bratton said the figures are cause for concern, but he said it was too early to tell whether they jeopardizes his crime reduction goals.
The new statistics found that violent crimes fell 13 percent from Jan. 1 through March 27. Bratton said the department’s efforts to reduce murders have been hampered because he has not been allotted money to hire more police officers and buy high-technology equipment. The LAPD has frozen hiring and promotions, causing increased tension in the department as officers try to meet Bratton’s rising expectations, he said. Bratton said the department is focusing on a small percentage of violent gang members who he says are responsible for more than 50% of homicides.