Homicides are down sharply in Los Angeles County this year, possibly by as much as 14 percent countywide, says the Los Angeles Times. Still, the stubborn problem of deadly violence grinds on in poor neighborhoods at a rate far above the U.S. average. An online project of The Times called the Homicide Report has tracked Los Angeles County homicides since the beginning of the year. The project has yielded a vivid statistical outline of the county’s homicide problem — at least 520 killings by early August. It has chronicled some of the damage that rippled through families and communities rent by deaths that happened before their time.
Homicide hits hardest among Latinos and especially among blacks. Latinos are killed at more than three times the rate of whites, while blacks succumb to homicide at three times the rate of Latinos. Adult males are the eye of the storm. The national homicide rate is about six deaths per 100,000 people each year. But for Latino men in their 20s in Los Angeles County, the rate is 52 deaths, and for black men, 176 deaths. In human terms, that means that losing a son to homicide, a remote possibility in some neighborhoods, looms as a daily threat in others.