A spate of highly publicized violent crimes have many Angelenos worried. But the news conferences and media reports often miss a crucial question: How does the present compare with the past, and is the city really becoming more dangerous?
The answer can often be found in numbers. With the Crime Book, Crosstown aims to deliver the most important statistics, using publicly accessible Los Angeles Police Department data to provide not just figures from a single month, but context from the recent past and previous years. Here is how Los Angeles fared in November.
Gun violence continues
The pace of homicides in Los Angeles has slowed since peaking at 48 in July. There were 29 murders in November, with Harvard Park, Hollywood and Sylmar each recording three deaths. The monthly total was unchanged from October.
Homicides in Los Angeles, August-November 2021
Yet the figure is relative, and those 29 murders are more than in any November since at least 2010. At the weekly Los Angeles Police Commission meeting on Tuesday morning, Chief Michel Moore said the city has now experienced 376 homicides. Last year at the same time, the figure was 327.
Moore and others have said there is a rise in crimes involving guns, and the 293 shots-fired reports in November marked the first monthly increase after the level had fallen for three consecutive months.
As with homicides, the number of people injured by gunfire is well above pre-pandemic levels (echoing a nationwide rise in gun violence). Although the 117 shooting victims is fewer than were recorded last November, it is a 64.8% increase over the 71 people who were shot in November 2019.
Shooting victims in Los Angeles in November, 2017-2021
According to LAPD Compstat data, through Nov. 27, Los Angeles had recorded 3,051 shots-fired reports, a 17.9% increase over the same timeframe last year, and a 56.2% spike compared with the 1,953 incidents in the equivalent period in 2019.
Cars gone missing
In October, 2,363 cars were reported stolen in Los Angeles, the highest monthly figure since the LAPD started making its data publicly accessible in 2010. The November total was lower, but not by much—the 2,255 vehicles that went missing still ranks as the second-highest monthly tally in at least a decade, and is almost 900 more than were taken in November 2019. Downtown was by far the most active spot for car thieves last month, with 101 swiped. Another 68 vehicles were stolen in Koreatown.
Robberies have generated extensive attention in recent months, with police warning of thieves following people from high-end restaurants or stores, and often stealing expensive watches or jewelry. The 820 robberies in November was the highest monthly total since December 2019. Once again, densely packed Downtown was the site of the most incidents, with 80 last month. The second- and third-most victimized communities were Hollywood (57 robberies) and Westlake (32).
Despite the alarm, the number of robberies remains below the level before the onset of the pandemic. From Jan. 1-Nov. 27 of this year, the LAPD recorded 7,542 robberies. That’s a 13.6% decline from the 8,726 incidents in the same period in 2019.
Burglaries are also falling on a year-over-year basis, with the 11,396 through Nov. 27 representing a 7.7% decline from the same period in 2019. Last month there were 1,059 robberies in the city, a sharp decrease from the 1,400 in the same month in 2018.
Burglaries in Los Angeles in November, 2017-2021
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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