For the first time in more than a decade, all categories of crime rose across Los Angeles this year as police struggled to get control of the problem, the Los Angeles Times reports. Violent crime reports climbed 19.9 percent and property crime increased 10.3 percent through Dec. 26 compared with the same period last year, said police data. It marked the second year in a row that violent crime rose, but the first time since 2003 that both violent and property crime rose. The increases come after more than a decade of steep declines in crime, particularly in homicides. Police officials said the recent upswings should be viewed in that larger context. “We ask people to keep this in perspective,” said Assistant Chief Michel Moore. “The city is not on fire, the city is not falling into the ocean.”
Still, the increases have prompted concern in neighborhoods across the city, including areas that have seen jumps in gang-related homicides as well as more affluent areas where residents have complained about thefts and car break-ins. In Venice, thieves have taken packages from doorsteps, lifted smartphones from pedestrians and attempted to steal cars during the day, said George Francisco, co-chairman of the Venice Neighborhood Council’s public safety committee. In South Los Angeles, police commanders deployed Metro, a squad with a reputation for hard-charging tactics, to some crime hot spots and also partnered with gang intervention workers. By the fall, the homicide numbers in the area had returned to levels comparable to recent years. LAPD officials noted that other large U.S. cities have also reported more homicides this year, including New York, Chicago and Houston.