During the year of the coronavirus, increased time at home meant many Angelenos got to know their neighbors and landlords a lot better. But not all those interactions were pleasant: Disputes between landlords, tenants and neighbors all increased in a 12-month period.
The Los Angeles Police Department fielded 2,392 calls of disputes between landlords, tenants and neighbors from March 15, 2020-March 14, 2021 (the period starts with the day that Mayor Eric Garcetti ordered the closure of many businesses in Los Angeles). That marks a 23% increase compared with the previous 12-month period, according to LAPD data.
Police reports for landlord-tenant disputes, March 2019-March 2021
Of those calls, 1,221 involved an assault and 238 included a criminal threat. On 153 occasions someone brandished a weapon, according to police data.
The residentially dense community of Westlake, near MacArthur Park, recorded 156 incidents, the highest number of disputes in any neighborhood in Los Angeles. The second most-frequent community for calls was Broadway-Manchester in South Los Angeles, with 101 reported incidents.
Roommate issues and neighbor pains
In the one-year period, the LAPD recorded 1,197 calls in which the suspect was a roommate. That represents a 13% increase over the 1,056 incidents during the previous year.
Reports for neighbor and roommate disputes, March 2019-March 2021
Of these calls, there were 786 assaults. That is a nearly 9% rise over the 722 assaults reported during the previous 12-month period.
Once again, Westlake was the most frequent site of tensions, as police responded to 75 incidents. The next-highest number of reports was the 50 in Hollywood.
Police data details the basic components of many cases. That includes a dispute at an apartment building on the morning of Feb. 9, on the 300 block of Columbia Avenue in Westlake. A 43-year-old Black man was assaulted with bodily force by his roommate.
The number of times police were called to a dispute between neighbors jumped 27% during the one-year pandemic period. There were 2,266 incidents in the most recent year, compared with 1,778 reported during the 2019-20 timeframe.
Those reports included 1,190 incidents of assault, a 28% jump from the 928 during the previous year.
Again, Westlake was the site of the highest number of incidents, with 179 reports where the suspect was a neighbor. The next most frequent community for calls was in another tightly packed area, Downtown (171 calls).
The cases included an incident on March 28, 2020. A 79-year-old Black woman who was experiencing homelessness was assaulted by a neighbor she knew outside of an apartment building in Downtown.
How we did it: We examined LAPD data on crimes labeled with the code for “suspect was a roommate,” “suspect was a neighbor,” and “dispute involved a landlord/tenant/neighbor” from March 15, 2020-March 14, 2021. For neighborhood boundaries, we rely on the borders defined by the Los Angeles Times. Learn more about our data here.
LAPD data only reflect 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. On occasion, the 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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