In addition to an alarming 16% increase in the City of Los Angeles’ total homeless population from last year, the 2019 Greater Los Angeles Homeless Count revealed another troubling statistic: an 11% increase in people under 18 experiencing homelessness.
Overall, crimes in which either the victim or suspect was experiencing homelessness have risen dramatically in the past few years, at a much higher rate than the increase in the homeless population over all. We reported last week on the 57% increase of homeless victims from 2017 to 2018.
Looking at LAPD data, we found that the number of reported crimes against and by the under-18 homeless population is still small. But the incidents are telling.
In 2018, there were three crimes recorded were the victim was both under 18 and homeless. Two of the victims were between the ages of 14 and 17, and one of the victims was between the ages of 7 and 13 (LAPD data sometimes supplies only a range for a person’s age.)
Both crimes against the victims between 14 and 17 were aggravated assaults, which is when a suspect attacks another person using a weapon to severely injure another person.
The first crime happened at 2 a.m. on March 28, 2018 near the California African American Museum in Exposition Park. The unconscious teenage victim, whom the police also identified as a prostitute, was grabbed and choked by a suspect.
The other crime occurred at 12 p.m. on August 18 at an intersection of James M. Wood Blvd. and Bonnie Brae St. in Westlake when multiple suspects overwhelmed the teenage victim and asked if they were affiliated with a gang. They proceeded to kick the victim and hit the victim with a weapon.
The third crime, with the homeless victim between the age of 7 to 13, took place in West Adams on December 7 at 5:40 p.m. The suspect, who was the mother of the victim, was driving under the influence with the child as a passenger when they got into a traffic accident. Both the suspect and the victim were homeless.
The data also show that there were two additional crimes recorded where the suspect was a juvenile experiencing homelessness. This is the first time such a crime has been recorded since 2010, the year the LAPD first began making its crime data publicly available.
How we did it: We examined publicly available LAPD data on reported crimes involving victims and suspects who were identified as both homeless and juveniles. 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. The LAPD does periodically update past crime reports with new information, which sometimes leads them to recategorize past reports. Those revised reports do not always automatically become part of the public database. We try to update our reporting when new data become available.
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