The city of Los Angeles in July recorded 48 homicides, by far the highest monthly count in at least a decade. The figure is more than double the 20 murders in April, according to public data from the Los Angeles Police Department, and shows that an alarming trend is not slowing down.
The period from Jan. 1-June 30 was already the deadliest first six months of the year since at least 2010, when the LAPD began making its data public. The 48 deaths in July is a 21% jump from the 38 recorded last month. [Update: This story originally cited 46 murders in July, based on LAPD data; two more homicides were since reported by the department.]
Monthly homicide count in Los Angeles, Jan. 2019-July 2021
“Our challenge continues to be shooting violence, homicides, persons experiencing homelessness, as well as those involved in street violence,” Police Chief Michel Moore said Tuesday morning at the weekly meeting of the civilian Los Angeles Police Commission, which oversees the department.
Moore, who was addressing overall crime, and not the specific monthly homicide count, added, “This last week was also the beginning of our violent crime initiative to strengthen our strategies, our existing strategies in both community engagement and outreach, as well as in added patrols for the apprehension of violent offenders.”
Homicides have been increasing almost since the start of the pandemic. Last year’s 343 murders in Los Angeles marked a 34% increase over 2019. That was also the highest annual tally in at least a decade.
Los Angeles is not alone, as the murder rate has been rising in cities across the country during the coronavirus era. New York City, Chicago and Washington, D.C. are among the major metropolitan areas where killings in 2021 are far higher than they were in the same timeframe in 2019.
July also brought a spike in aggravated assaults, with the 1,299 incidents again being the highest number since at least 2010, and a 17.1% increase over the same month last year.
The local homicide rate has been elevated for more than a year. Since July 2020, there have been seven different months with 38 or more murders. From January 2010 through June 2020, there were only three months with totals near that; the 39 in January 2012, the 38 in October 2016, and the 37 in August 2015.
The 10 deadliest months in Los Angeles since 2010
As alarming as these figures are, they rank well below high-crime periods in the 1980s and early ’90s in Los Angeles. In August 1991, the LAPD recorded 122 homicides. In 1992, the city experienced 1,092 murders, with more than 100 in four consecutive months from July through October.
Crime typically rises in Los Angeles during the summer, and July began with a stunning amount of bloodshed, as the Independence Day weekend alone saw at least a dozen murders. The LAPD in June and July recorded a total of 84 homicides.
Homicides in Los Angeles, Jan. 1-July 31, 2019-2021
According to LAPD statistics, the 224 homicides in the first seven months of the year is a 23% increase over the 182 in the same timeframe in 2020. It is a nearly 42% jump from the 156 murders in the first seven months of 2019.
Crosstown last month reported that 73.2% of the murders in Los Angeles in the first half of the year involved guns. That trend continued in July. Of the 48 homicides, 35 involved firearms. That included the murder on July 26 of 43-year-old Mikher Alaverdian. Alaverdian, who was in a car near Victory Boulevard in the San Fernando Valley, was shot by an unidentified man on a bicycle.
The youngest victim was a 16-year-old Hispanic male, who according to LAPD data was stabbed to death on July 11 either at outside a liquor store in Westlake. The oldest was a 62-year-old Black woman, who on July 3 was killed by the blows of an assailant in the neighborhood of Panorama City.
If there is a silver lining, it is that numbers may be turning slightly downward. Moore told the Police Commission that there were 114 shootings in the city in the recent 28-day period, including the first week of August. That is down from 128 in the prior four weeks.
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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