Crime in Los Angeles dropped for the fifth consecutive year in 2006, bucking trends for the nation and in other regions of Southern California, where violent offenses are increasing, reports the Los Angeles Times. As of late December, crime across Los Angeles was down about 8 percent, with major drops in burglaries, car thefts, rapes, and assaults. Homicides dropped about 4 percent, from 487 in 2005 to 464 as of Dec. 23 this year. The only crime to rise in 2006 was robbery, up 6 percent to 13,943 incidents.
The crime numbers boost the prestige of Police Chief William Bratton at a time when he is seeking a second five-year term and writing a book about how other cities can combat crime. “You can’t be lucky seven times in a row. If I was, I’d be making a living hanging out at the blackjack table,” he said, noting that crime dropped not only during his tenure in Los Angeles but also when he was chief in Boston and New York. “Bratton has focused on gangs, guns, and drugs,” said University of Chicago law professor Bernard Harcourt. Criminologist James Alan Fox of Northeastern University said, “There is no external factor that would explain such a large decline. It has to do with crime prevention and crime control at the local level.”