Los Angeles Police Chief William J. Bratton concedes that his ambitious goal of reducing killings by 20 percent this year cannot be met, the Los Angeles Times says. With homicides up 5.3 percent over last year’s total through August, Bratton said, “It is quite clear we aren’t going to get a 20 percent drop in the homicide rate.”
Bratton said homicides in 2004 are up by 16 over the same time last year, to 357 slayings. He called the first such upswing since he took command of the LAPD in 2002 “an anomaly.” Bratton cited statistics to promote the proposed half-cent sales tax for law enforcement, on the ballot in Los Angeles County in November, which would provide enough funding to hire 1,500 new officers. The homicide rate in New York City as of Aug. 15 was down 7.8 percent; Chicago is experiencing a larger drop, reaching 25.6% through July 1.