Recent killings in Los Angeles have nearly erased impressive gains made this year on the city's homicide rate, Police Chief Charlie Beck tells the city’s Police Commission, reports the Los Angeles Times. In the last 11 days, 19 people have been killed. The bloodshed brings the number of killings this year to 70. Before the rise in violence, the department had been posting double-digit decreases in the homicide total compared to last year, in which a record low 314 people were killed. Now, the city has experienced only two fewer killings compared to the same period last year.
Beck expressed confidence that police would be able to stem the recent uptick. All but a few of the 19 killings were gang-related. The chief has ordered the temporary redeployment of officers from quieter parts of the city to those experiencing the killings. He hoped his recent decision to bolster the ranks of area stations with more than 150 officers previously assigned to specialized units would help matters. Unable to pay officers for overtime hours, Beck is requiring them to take days off from work instead. The resulting decrease in manpower has made it hard for department commanders to deploy the additional officers needed when violence flares. Overall, the city’s violent crime total, including rape and robbery, remains down nearly 15 percent over the same period last year.