The Crosstown Crime Book: January
When it comes to crime, there is never any truly “good” news—even if numbers are falling from one month to the next, each violent or property crime means there is a victim who has suffered harm or loss. However, January brought positive developments in the city of Los Angeles.
After an 11.6% overall crime increase in 2022, the new year is starting off with fewer incidents, particularly those involving firearms.
“We continue to see a downward trend in our violence and overall Part 1 crime,” LAPD Chief Michel Moore told the Los Angeles Police Commission on Jan. 30 (“Part 1” is the term for the most serious offenses). “We’re also seeing reductions in all of our property crime categories: burglary, motor vehicle thefts, burglary/theft from vehicles and personal theft.”
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The decline is twofold: The January figures are lower than the same month last year. Additionally, the counts in multiple categories continue a downward trend that started toward the end of 2022.
Reduced gun violence
The most consequential development is the continued decrease in homicides. After 397 murders in the city in 2022, there were 382 last year, with a notable drop-off in the final quarter.
January was similar: There were 29 killings in the month, a 17% drop from the 35 in January 2022.
While the number of murder victims in January was in line with totals in recent months, it represented a significant decline from last summer. There were 44 homicides in both July and August 2022.
The decline came despite a series of disturbing killings in the region, including the 11 people shot to death in Monterey Park (outside the city of Los Angeles, but still within county boundaries) during Lunar New Year festivities. Additionally, there was a triple homicide early in the morning of Jan. 28, when three women, including two young mothers, were shot to death in Beverly Crest. A police investigation continues.
Although gun violence in the city is well below the level of the last two years, it remains higher than it was right before the pandemic. There were 92 shooting victims in January, a 41% decline from the 156 people struck by gunfire in the same month in 2021.
The January total also marked the fourth consecutive month with fewer than 100 shooting victims in the city. The count had been in triple digits for a year-and-a-half before that. As recently as last June, there were 139 people struck by gunfire in Los Angeles.
Another violent crime category, robberies, also declined in January, with 638 incidents, according to publicly available Los Angeles Police Department data. That is a drop from the 780 in the same month last year. In January 2018 there were 948 robberies.
From Jan. 1–Feb. 4, 2023, there were 2,526 violent crimes in the city, according to LAPD Compstat data. That is a 10.4% decline from the 2,819 in the same timeframe last year.
Still many missing cars
As with violent crime, multiple categories of property crime declined in the first month of the year.
January brought 1,962 stolen vehicle reports. That is below the count in the same month last year, and in 2022 there were more than 25,000 car thefts, the highest annual figure since at least 2010.
Yet again, progress is relative. The January total far exceeds the same month in 2019 and 2020, which each saw approximately 1,420 car thefts.
There were 1,154 burglaries in the city last month. That marks a sharp drop from the 1,354 in December, but is equivalent to totals in September and October.
Property crime in the first five weeks of 2023 is down 8.7% from the same period last year, according to Compstat data.
How we did it: We examined publicly available crime data from the Los Angeles Police Department from Jan. 1, 2018–Dec. 31, 2022. We also examined LAPD Compstat data. Learn more about our data here.
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.
Have questions about our data or want to know more? Write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.