There were 259 people murdered in Los Angeles last year, according to the Los Angeles Police Department, the lowest number the city has recorded since 2013.
This 2018 total is down from 282 a year earlier, or 8%, according to publicly available data on reported criminal homicides.*
The 2018 homicide numbers – while still tragically high – represent a dramatic improvement from just a few decades earlier, when Los Angeles was suffering from a killing epidemic. In 1992, the year of widespread protests stemming from the police beating of Rodney King, a record 1,092 people were murdered in the city. Authorities at the time blamed access to guns, gang violence and civil unrest. High levels of violence were not uncommon in both the ‘80s and ‘90s: In 1980, 1,028 people were killed.
Along with the decline in homicides in Los Angeles last year, researchers at the Brennan Center for Justice estimate the 2018 murder rate in the 30 largest U.S. cities will also decline once they tally the final numbers.
Estimated murders in Chicago were 534, a drop of 18.2% from 2017, according to the report, though the Chicago Sun-Times reports 547 people were killed. Baltimore had 315, a drop of 7.9%, according to the report, though the Baltimore Sun reported 309 homicides. New York City’s 2018 number was estimated to be 291, a 0.4% drop from 2017.
In Los Angeles, the neighborhood with the highest number of reported criminal homicides in 2018 was Downtown, with 13. In Westlake, 11 people were murdered. Broadway Manchester, Florence*, Historic South Central, Vermont Slauson and Vermont Vista each had nine criminal homicides last year. Panorama City showed a noticeable decrease, with nine criminal homicides reported in 2017, and one reported last year.
Over the past nine years, these five neighborhoods had the highest number of criminal homicides (with more below in the graphic):
- Downtown: 105
- Florence: 97
- Watts: 95
- Westlake: 94
- Broadway Manchester: 92
How we did it: We examined publicly available LAPD data on reports of criminal homicides for the past nine years. *For 2018, we also included one case of negligent manslaughter in the neighborhood of Florence, as the LAPD told us they included this incident in their year-end report. 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 the LAPD makes publicly available. 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.
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