Los Angeles likely will meet its crime-reduction goal this year, but Police Chief William Bratton warned that he won’t be able to achieve the same 8 percent drop next year unless the city significantly increases money for overtime to the understaffed police force, reports the Los Angeles Times. Bratton is confident the department will achieve a significant drop in serious crime for the fourth consecutive year. Last year saw a 10 percent drop; as of Monday, Los Angeles has seen a 5.4 percent decrease in homicides, from 465 in 2005, to 440 this year. As of Saturday rapes had dropped 8.3 percent, aggravated assaults 8.5 percent and burglaries 8 percent. Robberies increased 5.7 percent.
Police Commission President John Mack said, “We’re in a period where most of the nation has seen an increase in crime. Fortunately, under the chief’s leadership, crime is still on a downward trend here.” Although the city approved a fee on trash collection to raise money to hire 1,000 officers over five years, the department has not grown significantly, largely because recruitment lagged.