In the toughest part of Los Angeles, communities report improving crime statistics, says the Los Angeles Times. In the southwest area of the city, police say homicides are down 21 percent from 2004 and aggravated assaults have been reduced by almost half, from 2,208 in 2004 to 1,277 as 2005 came to an end. Police Chief William Bratton credits assertive policing for reducing crime by about 10 percent citywide for the third year in a row. He cites the increased use of computers, extra detectives and patrol officers in high-crime areas and an emphasis on closely monitoring repeat offenders as reasons for the drop-off.
In Leimert Park, where African art galleries, cafes, and shops line the streets, merchants say crime has not dropped enough to celebrate. Twins Richard and Ron Harris, who opened the popular Lucy Florence Coffee House in 2000, say they measure success by foot traffic, not statistics. “I don’t believe crime is down in this area because there are not enough people walking,” Richard Harris said.