Los Angeles is set to close out the year with a drop in crime of roughly 10 percent – meeting a goal set by Police Chief William Bratton and solidifying a trend, the Los Angeles Times reports. If the numbers hold up over the next week and a half, it would mark the third year in a row that Los Angeles has seen a significant drop in crime. The impact can be seen in neighborhoods across the city. The reasons remain elusive.
Bratton has credited his department’s assertive policing – using computers to break down crime patterns, moving extra officers into high-crime areas, focusing on the small number of criminals who commit the majority of offenses – for bringing about the declines. He probably will set another 10 percent decrease as a goal for the department in 2006. Los Angeles’ crime drop this year is slightly better than those recorded by other big cities. In New York, crime is down roughly 5 percent; Chicago has seen a 7 percent drop as of the end of November. “A lot of cities are continuing to see a decline in crime. That doesn’t mean it’s because of the police. There are other factors,” said criminologist James Alan Fox of Northeastern University in Boston. “Demographics, for instance. We have a growing population over the age of 50. And every day as they grow older, the crime rate benefits.”