There were more aggravated assaults in Los Angeles in July than during any month in over a decade, with 1,299.
The spike highlights one of the emerging concerns about public safety during COVID-19. Overall crime has fallen sharply, as social distancing and lockdowns kept people apart. But violent crimes – from murders to shootings and assaults — have been climbing to alarming levels.
July’s total of aggravated assaults is a 14.16% increase from the 1,115 incidents reported in June, and 17.10% increase from the 1,077 reported in July 2020, according to Los Angeles Police Department data. (The monthly total could rise as there is often a lag time for LAPD data.)
Aggravated assaults in Los Angeles by month, July 2019-July 2021
Aggravated assault, as opposed to simple assault or battery, occurs when the assailant intends to inflict great bodily harm, often with a deadly weapon. More than a quarter of all aggravated assaults in the city are carried out with some type of firearm. (Aggravated assaults of a domestic partner are not included in these totals; Crosstown groups them in a separate category of domestic violence.)
Shootings are also on the rise. The city saw an 8.8% increase to 136 people shot in July over June. More people have been struck by gunfire so far this year than during any comparable period since 2010.
LAPD Chief Michel Moore, speaking at an Aug. 3 Police Commission meeting, said combating rising gun violence was a priority for the department. “Our work continues in identifying those areas that are seeing the increase in shooting violence as well as those responsible,” Moore said.
Los Angeles isn’t alone in this violent crime spike. New York saw a 5.9% spike in felony assaults in July 2021 compared with July 2020. Chicago reported 461 shootings for the month — a 15% jump from last year’s July levels.
Aggravated assaults, while fluctuating on a year-to-year basis, have gradually increased in Los Angeles over the past decade. June and July are often the peak months, but last year, in the midst of the pandemic, October recorded the largest monthly total, at 1,127.
Aggravated assaults in Los Angeles by year, 2020-2021
So far this year, Downtown has had the highest number of aggravated assaults, with 562. This total includes a disturbing incident on March 3, when a 49-year-old man was threatened with an axe by a family member in a hotel.
Top neighborhoods for aggravated assault, Jan-July, 2021
While robberies continue at a lower rate than pre-pandemic levels, July saw the highest spike since February 2020, with 729 reported. Additionally, the percentage of robberies with firearms continues to increase. In July, 24.55% of robberies occured with the use of a firearm, compared with the 20.05% in July 2020 and 8.83% in the same period in 2019.
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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