Crime in Los Angeles County dropped in 2009 despite rising unemployment and the bad economy, continuing a slide that has pushed homicides to levels not seen since the 1960s, reports the Los Angeles Times. Killings dropped 17 percent in Los Angeles and by nearly a quarter in areas patrolled by the Los Angeles County Sheriff. Together, the agencies investigated about 500 killings through Sunday — a sharp drop in bloodshed compared with the more than 1,500 in 1992, the year of the Los Angeles riots.
“It is a different world,” said Police Chief Charlie Beck, a 32-year veteran of the force. “There was a time when it was the opposite of today — when it seemed there was no limit on the potential for things to get worse and worse. The whole outlook has shifted now.” The number of property crimes, such as burglary and theft, also declined this year, including a surprisingly large drop in the number of stolen automobiles. Vehicles are getting much harder to steal. A few years back with all the old American cars it just took a screwdriver and some yanking. Any joy-rider could walk down the street and rip off a car,” said Los Angeles police commander Andy Smith.