Unsolved homicides are stacked up block by block, mile by mile, in South Los Angeles, the Los Angeles Times reports. The paper describes “a massive number of killings which, taken together, create a chilling map of violent lawlessness.” The Los Angeles Police Department’s South Bureau has accumulated a backlog of more than 2,400 unsolved homicides in 15 years.
In interviews in the hardest-hit neighborhoods, people describe how fear, and the knowledge that serious crimes are not solved, makes them unwilling to cooperate with authorities or act as witnesses, and disinclined to place their faith in the police.
A Times computer analysis of data from the Los Angeles Police Department APD showing dense concentrations of unsolved homicides in certain areas reflects a troubling history that locals understand all too well. “You speak out around here, you done get killed,” said Promise White, 18. White saw a recent double killing nearby, but did not even consider talking to police.
In South Los Angeles, more than half of killers are never caught. Police said those who have not been killed themselves or jailed for other crimes usually don’t travel far. “These guys stick within their territory,” said Det. Jerry Pirro. “We used to have a saying: In this division, you will probably find your killer within a quarter-mile of the scene.”
Of the more than 11,000 homicides in Los Angeles since 1988, there are nearly 6,000 in which no arrest was made. About 2,400 of those are in the 58 square miles of the LAPD’s South Bureau, and 2,000 are in the 65 square miles of the Central Bureau. The total for the two bureaus means that nearly three-quarters of all the city’s unsolved homicides are concentrated into one-quarter of the city’s total area.