Crime rates in Los Angeles County have been declining for decades, but a recent weekend brought a spate of homicides that may threaten this trend.
NBC 4, Los Angeles, reports that across seven communities in the county, 10 people died at nine locations within 48 hours. Neither law enforcement officials nor academics in the criminal justice field have been able to determine a pattern. Some point to research indicating that media coverage of mass shootings may lead to an overall increase in violence, and suggest that the recent shooting deaths in Washington, DC, at the Naval Shipyard may have been a factor in this rash of homicides.
However, the decline in violent crimes for Los Angeles County has been a slowing trend recently, particularly in 2013.
According to statistics from the sheriff's department, overall violent crime has dropped 25.59 percent to date, reports NBC. In 2012, there were 166 homicides within the jurisdiction of the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department—lower than in any previous year since 1970.
But so far in 2013, the homicide count stands at 112, which is three more than the figures for the same time last year. There have been increases in other categories of crime this year as well, most notably in property crimes.
According to statistics, if the trend continues for the remainder of 2013, it will be the first time the number of homicides increases from the previous year since 2005.
Some believe that the increasing crime rate may be due to current incarceration policies in Los Angeles County, in particular the response to recidivism: felons on probation or parole who violate the terms of release and commit new crimes. Mark A.R. Kleiman, professor of public policy at UCLA's Luskin School of Public Affairs, said in an interview with NBC that violation of parole terms should lead to immediate re-incarceration—a policy that is not currently in place.
Kleiman pointed out that while crime rates have been lowered to nearly mid-'60s levels, incarceration rates have increased five times over. “We have one percent of our entire adult population behind bars,” Kleiman said. “Our mass incarceration problem is now a social issue the size of our crime problem.”
Vitaly Sigal, a Los Angeles criminal defense lawyer, delivers aggressive defense representation for people who have been charged with violent crimes, property violations, and more. To discuss the details of your case with Mr. Sigal, contact our office today.