L.A. Crime Levels Off, Chief Hopes for Drop This Year

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Crime in Los Angeles has nearly leveled off at the midyear mark, says Police Chief Charlie Beck, calling 2017’s numbers a sign that police are making progress against the city’s stubborn uptick in crime, the Los Angeles Times reports. As of July 1, overall crime was up less than 1 percent compared with the first six months of 2016, notably lower than the 6.6 percent increase halfway through 2016 and the 12.7 percent jump the year before. Beck credited the progress to a variety of factors: shifting department resources to target violent crime, improving predictive policing to help stem property crime, adapting to changes in legislation, and a “relentless focus” on crime from police department brass.

Beck also said he hoped that by the end of the year, the city would see crime drop. If overall crime ultimately falls this year, it will mark the first such decrease since 2014. “I am cautiously optimistic,” Beck said. “But we’ll see.” The most significant change this year has been in violent crime, which Beck said has risen about 1 percent. In both 2016 and 2015, the police reported double-digit increases in violent crime at the midyear mark. Still, homicides increased about 2 percent in the first six months of this year, Beck said, which he attributed in part to a 2.4 percent jump in gang-related killings. The number of gunshot victims across the city rose by roughly 4 percent.

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