The risks of dying by violence in Los Angeles are higher today than when criminologist Elliott Currie of the University of California at Irvine began studying crime in the 1960s, Currie writes in the Los Angeles Times. Since then, there have been several much-touted declines in crime – each followed by a resurgence. Crime has dropped in L.A., but it has also fallen – sometimes faster – in several other U.S. cities.
Currie notes that L.A.’s rates of murder, robbery, and aggravated assault have exceeed those of other big California cities. With Antonio Villaraigosa taking office next week as mayor, Currie says, “it’s time to confront the tangled roots of violence in L.A.’s communities, develop fresh ideas about how to remedy what Father Gregory Boyle calls a ‘lethal absence of hope’ among so many of the city’s young people, creatively think about how L.A. can smooth the reentry of thousands of inmates released to its streets every year and build innovative strategies against family violence that terrorizes too many women and children and ensures that we’ll suffer more street violence in the future,” Currie says.