Already, 2021 is taking a deadly turn

In January, homicides in Los Angeles increased by 34%

Illustration of handgun

The number of murders in the city of Los Angeles is already spiking one month into the new year.


There were 39 homicides in January, a 34% increase over the same time last year, according to Los Angeles Police Department data. The increase in murders is happening despite a 20% drop in overall crime in the city in January compared with the same month in 2020.

Number of homicides in Los Angeles in January, 2016-2021

Line graph pf January homicides, 2016-2021

The January figures follow a year that already stood out. In 2020, Los Angeles recorded 350 homicides. That was up 36% over the 2019 total.

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day was particularly deadly, with five murders reported, compared with last year’s holiday, when there was one homicide.


Last year, Capt. Paul Vernon, the head of the LAPD’s Compstat division, which analyzes crime data, said patrol officers had been reassigned from areas with high violent crime. He called the rise at the time “significant.”


Chief Michel Moore said at a virtual LAPD Police Commission meeting last week that more officers will be reassigned back to neighborhoods starting on Feb. 14.


Green Meadows, a neighborhood in South Los Angeles, reported four homicides last month. The second highest total was in Boyle Heights, where three people were killed.


In a Green Meadows incident on Jan. 10, a 19-year-old Black male was shot and killed on Towne Street. The LAPD said it was gang-related, and bullets and casings from the scene were booked into evidence.


A 31-year-old Hispanic man who was experiencing homelessness was killed on Jan. 23 on the 2400 block of Folsom St. in Boyle Heights. The victim was killed at a mobile home or trailer. The LAPD also classified the killing as gang-related.


Nearly 90% of the homicide victims in January were male and Hispanic or Black.


Moore said 23 of the homicides this year were gang-related, which was up 92% from the same period last year.


“We are seeing a continuation of violent crime that we saw in November and December, in particular gang violence,” Moore said at the Police Commission meeting. “We are working with our local resources and investigative units to solve these crimes and bring those responsible to justice. We also continue to work with our gang reduction providers to do outreach and engagement to try to quell the level of violence.”


How we did it: We examined LAPD publicly available data on reported homicides from Jan. 1-Jan. 31, 2021, compared with the same time in 2020.  For neighborhood boundaries, we rely on the borders defined by the Los Angeles Times. Learn more about our data here.

In making our calculations, we rely on the data the LAPD makes publicly available. On occasion, 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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