Most (not all) neighborhoods show a decrease during first six months
In absolute numbers, things look good for the City of Angels: There were 106,559 crimes reported during the first six months of 2019, a 5.7% drop from the same period in 2018.
On the whole, 86 neighborhoods saw a decrease in crime, while 22 neighborhoods recorded an increase compared with the same period in 2018. Two neighborhoods,Montecito Heights and Westchester, saw no change at all.
The decrease in crime appears to be accelerating slightly from last year. In 2018, overall crime fell by 1% compared with 2017. Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti announced in January that crimes in all major categories in 2018 were down, with homicides dropping 8% and violent crimes, such as rape and aggravated assault,down 4.5%. Property crimes fell 1.8% and gang-related homicides dropped by almost 20%.
But across Los Angeles, people’s experiences with safety vary dramatically. We’ve examined crimes reported to the Los Angeles Police Department for110 neighborhoods in the city and ranked them by crime rate. (Crime rate is determined by dividing the number of crimes by the number of inhabitants and then multiplying by 100,000.)
But numbers don’t tell the whole story. Downtown has just over 50,000 inhabitants, and it recorded about one crime for every three residents. Yet it is a hub of commercial activity and tens of thousands commute to the area for work. It also has the city’s largest homeless population. Its crime rate rose by 5% during the first six months of the year.
Sharp increases in housing prices in neighborhoods like West Adams have led to changes in both demographics and public safety. The neighborhood saw a 13% increase in crime during the first half of 2019. However, it is unclear whether this increase was due to actual higher crime or more vigilant crime monitoring by residents.
“Back when West Adams was experiencing a lot of gang violence, with the Rollin’ 60s Neighborhood Crips and the West Boulevard Crips, the policy was ‘See something, don’t say anything.’ Nobody wanted to become a target,” said Josef Siroky, a West Adams Neighborhood Council board member. “Now, with housing prices going up, the neighborhood is a lot more affluent. People are much more comfortable calling 911 and coming to Neighborhood Council meetings,” he said.
The most common crimes committed in the area from Jan.- June 2019 were battery, simple assault and vandalism on goods worth more than $400.
“With crimes like those, they’re really hard to prevent. What we really need for neighborhood security is more surveillance so we can catch people who do commit crimes and punish them so that they’re deterred in the future,” Siroky said.
But, according to Siroky, a lack of financial resources and residents who are unaware of public safety protocol makes neighborhood safety measures difficult to implement.
The West Adams Neighborhood Council works with the LAPD to disseminate info on public safety and convey concerns, but residents are an important part of the process as well.
West Adams saw the third highest increase in crime compared with Jan. – June 2018. Chinatown and Playa del Rey took the top two spots, with increases of 14% and 24% respectively. Bel Air and Lake View Terrace saw the sharpest drops, with reductions of 51% and 30% respectively.
*indicates a neighborhood policed by more than one agency.
How we did it: We looked at LAPD publicly available data on reported crimes in 2018 and 2019. For neighborhood boundaries, we rely on the borders defined by the Los Angeles Times. Learn more about our data here.
LAPD data only reflects crimes that are reported to the department, not how many crimes actually occurred. In making our calculations, we rely on the data that the LAPD makes publicly available. On occasion, LAPD may update past crime reports with new information, or recategorize past reports. Those revised reports do not always automatically become part of the public database.