Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said he was disappointed that violent crime rose for the first time in more than a decade, but vowed to work with police on strategies to make the city safer, reports the Los Angeles Times. “Public safety is my No. 1 priority, so to see anything go up obviously is not the direction I ever want to see,” Garcetti said. “Violent crime is up — we own that. Just as in other years when it’s down, we own that too.” Despite last year’s increase, the violent crime rate in Los Angeles remains at levels not seen since the 1950s. Violent crime was up 14.3 percent compared with 2013, driven by aggravated assaults, which increased 28.3 percent. Homicides and robberies were up slightly, and the rapes climbed nearly 21 percent.
The figures meant that 2,360 more people fell victim to violence in Los Angeles last year over the previous year. Last year’s violent crime totals were also higher than 2012 figures, and the number of serious assaults recorded was the highest since 2010, the year after Chief Charlie Beck was appointed to lead the department. City officials announced a set of measures to combat the rise in violence, including a domestic violence prevention program to increase education and awareness. In addition, the LAPD plans to use a $400,000 federal grant to tackle street-level violence in the four police divisions with the highest violent crime rates. The grant is aimed at improving data analysis and reducing recidivism rates in those areas, Beck said.