Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, Police Chief William Bratton and City Council members are trumpeting the continued downward slide of crime rates in Los Angeles to what the mayor called “historic” lows, reports the Los Angeles Times. In an effort to preempt calls from critics to slow down on police hiring, the mayor said he would not back off from a push to bolster police ranks with 1,000 new officers. The campaign is less than half completed.
Bratton waded into the debate over the city’s increased trash collection fees, which the mayor called for to pay for the new hires. He staunchly defended the way the police department spends its money in the face of an audit by the city controller that found some of the trash funds were being used to pay for other increases, such as overtime and raises. All categories of violent and property crimes, including gang-related crimes, are down compared with the same period in 2007. Through July 26, there were 212 homicides in the city this year, compared with 216 the previous year.