Southern California law enforcers, who started the year fearing a surge in gang crime, have reached midyear with a major drop in homicides, reports the Los Angeles Times. There have been 201 homicides this year in the city of Los Angeles, 56 fewer than at the same time in 2006, a 22 perecent drop. Communities patrolled by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department also recorded double-digit declines. The trend also extended to medium-sized cities. Burbank and Glendale, for example, haven’t recorded a single murder this year.
The drop in homicides is considered significant because it coincides with a much lower rate of decline for crime overall. There was much debate about why there have been so many fewer killings this year. Some officers said the Los Angeles Police Department has 300 more officers on the streets now than it did last year, the first result of Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa’s effort to add 1,000 officers.