Violent crime in Los Angeles is down 27 percent this year, a fact Mayor James Hahn is using as a major selling point near the end of his tough reelection campaign, reports the Los Angeles Times. The paper says the decline, though far larger than those in New York, Chicago, and other major cities, is more complex than it might seem. Some of it may be due, for example, to heavy rain that pounded the Los Angeles area in January and February. may offer part of the answer. Police and criminologists have long said that bad weather dampens crime, and Los Angeles Police Department statistics indicate this was true during the rainy days.
But crime did not start rising even after the rain stopped at the end of February. The biggest declines have occurred in more affluent parts of the city. The only major rise is seven more homicides in South Los Angeles than during the same period last year, a 12 percent increase. Experts say it’s far too early to declare success this year. “With high gas prices and weary people, it’s going to be tough,” said Det. Jeff Godown, who runs the LAPD’s Compstat crime-tracking operation. “The next 90 to 120 days will be the deciding factor.” Crime has dropped in other major cities, but not by so much as in Los Angeles. “Serious crime,” a combined measure of violent and property crime, is down 6.8 percent in New York compared with 19 percent in Los Angeles.