LA sees drop in crime, spike in police recruiting
Union leaders expressed gratitude for city leadership’s “strategic investment” in rebuilding the LAPD with benefits in its new contract
By Emily Holshouser
Press-Telegram, Long Beach, Calif.
LOS ANGELES — More people applied to work for the Los Angeles Police Department in August than in any month since September 2020 , and violent crime is down, according to numbers released by Mayor Karen Bass on Thursday in a year-end roundup of her office’s accomplishments.
During a press conference, Bass unveiled the report, which shows that violent crime is down, and that homicides have decreased by 15% compared to last year.
Although the number of violent crimes across California steadily has increased since 2014, resting at around 500 violent crimes for every 100,000 people, those numbers are significantly lower than the early 1990s, when the state saw roughly 1,100 violent crimes for every 100,000 people. That’s according to data from the Federal Bureau of Investigation , which has provided detailed crime stats since the 1980s.
Bass attributed the recent decrease in crime partly to some of the projects her office has undertaken, particularly efforts to establish retail crime task forces and bolster the mayor’s Crisis Response Team , a volunteer-led crisis intervention program that has been around since the 90s.
In August, the LAPD formed a regional Retail Theft Task Force , bolstered by over $15 million from Bass’ office. Since the establishment of that task force, the report says, retail crime has dropped by 57% and nearly 200 people have been arrested.
Retail crime, particularly “flash mob robberies” and smash-and-grabs, has become a major talking point for local politicians and police departments in recent years. In August, five robbers took merchandise from a Manhattan Beach jewelry store and were shot at by an employee, and dozens of people staged a mass robbery at a Nordstrom in Canoga Park .
Earlier this week, the LAPD task force announced the arrests of five people suspected of a violent confrontation while robbing a South Los Angeles store.
Bass also attributed a decrease in crime to new drug overdose prevention strategies, and the expansion of the Crisis and Incident Response Team , an unarmed group that responds to non-emergency LAPD calls. Bass’ report said that the team responded to nearly 10,000 calls for service.
The idea of having unarmed service workers respond to calls has been floated for many years, and has been the subject of significant skepticism from the union representing rank-and-file LAPD officers.
“We are grateful for the leadership of Mayor Bass and the council majority for making a strategic investment to rebuild the LAPD by adopting a contract that made our city more competitive to be able to recruit and retain police officers,” Sgt. Jerretta Sandoz , vice president of the Los Angeles Police Protective League , said in a statement.
The LAPD did not have a comment available Thursday evening.