After rising nearly 40% earlier this year, killings in the city of Los Angeles have fallen below last year’s levels, according to LAPD statistics. The city’s Times said there were 204 killings in 2008 as of Monday evening, four fewer than were reported over the same period last year. That represented a 2% decline overall, Sgt. Ruby Malachi said. Officials were quick to point out that the percentage drop was so small that a few more homicides this week could push the total number over 2007 levels.
Still, they said the statistics represented a shift from mid-March, when Los Angeles seemed poised to see a major increase in killings after five years of historic declines. “We see fluctuations throughout the year, and sometimes those spikes we see are very disturbing,” said LAPD Assistant Chief Earl Paysinger. “But at the end of the day, we still see a marked degradation in crime. And that’s the goal.”