Homicides in areas patrolled by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department rose 15 percent last year, says the Los Angeles Times. A steady increase over the last three years contrasts with a sharp decline in killings in the city of Los Angeles. Since 2002, homicides in the city, patrolled by the Los Angeles Police Department, have gone down by a fourth: from 647 to 487. Homicides in the Sheriff’s Department territory are up nearly a fifth: from 317 to 373.
Senior Sheriff’s Department officials say the LAPD has proved better at responding to crime hot spots. Under Chief William Bratton, the LAPD has monitored crime spikes, used computers to study crime patterns, and aggressively shifted officers to places where crime is rising in a “flood the zone” strategy. Sheriff Lee Baca is far less able to shift resources. He serves vast unincorporated areas of the county as well as 40 cities that contract for law enforcement. Baca has long pressed for more deputies, and he wants a quarter-cent sales tax increase that would pay for more gang enforcement.