Los Angeles Police Chief William J. Bratton has announced a goal of a 10 percent drop in major crimes this year, says the Los Angeles Times. There is no specific homicide-reduction goal. Bratton warned that the department probably can’t do more without additional officers and better technology. “Is it getting tougher? It certainly is,” Bratton said last week at a news conference with Mayor James K. Hahn, who is using the chief’s public safety record as the backbone of his reelection bid.
“We have asked the Police Department to do too much with too little for too long,” said Hahn, who is seeking a ballot measure for a half-cent sales tax increase for public safety. Last year, major crimes citywide dropped 10.5 percent. Violent crimes, which include homicides, rapes and assaults, fell 13.6 percent, missing Bratton’s target of 20 percent. Criminologist James Fox of Northeastern University questioned the tactic of announcing crime-reduction goals. “Bratton is a terrific leader. His intention here is good. But the idea of setting up numbers in some circumstances can drive people to do whatever they need to do to ensure those numbers are lower,” Fox said. “It is easy to make an aggravated assault a simple assault. I am not saying that would happen, but it has happened elsewhere.”