Los Angeles Sees Spike in Violent Crimes for First Time in 12 Years

Violent crime in the City of Los Angeles is up for the first time in more than a decade, according to new data from the Los Angeles Police Department. The new figures show that violent offenses rose by 12% in 2014 over the previous year. This was largely due to an increase in aggravated assaults which climbed by 24%. Robberies, rapes, and homicides, however, were also up.

Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck has suggested that increased awareness about domestic violence has played a role, making victims more likely to report crimes to police. But 60% of the aggravated assaults reported in 2014 don’t fall under this category. Furthermore, domestic violence incidents have actually dropped in areas of Los Angeles County which are patrolled by the Sheriff’s Department. In the County of Orange, they have remained level.

Police officials have acknowledged that problems with record-keeping could also be largely to blame. A recent investigation by the Los Angeles Times showed that the department was understating the city’s crime level by misclassifying thousands of offenses. Since then, the department has tightened controls to correct the discrepancies.

Whatever the reason for the uptick, Chief Beck insists that the city is still safe.

“I think we have some things we have to work on. But folks have to recognize that crime cascades over time,” Beck said. Homicides, he added, are still at a historical low.

Read more about the figures released by the LAPD here.