With the Crime Book, Crosstown examines monthly statistics and trends in criminal activity, using publicly available Los Angeles Police Department data. Here is how things looked in March.
Something interesting has been happening recently with crime in the city of Los Angeles: Numbers are ticking down. Many key categories are drifting back to pre-pandemic levels.
Consider homicides. In March, the LAPD recorded 22 murders. That is the second-lowest monthly total in almost two years (the only month with fewer was February). It is half the 44 killings the city suffered last August.
The 22 murders was also the second-lowest death toll in any March in the past six years. The only lower tally occurred in 2020, when the onset of COVID-19 kept many people indoors.
The situation is similar with gunshot victims. More than 100 people were shot each month for 18 consecutive months from April 2021 through September 2022, with a high of 139 last June. Yet for the last six months, the monthly total has been between 83 and 98, according to police data. In March there were 86 shooting victims.
Also trending down are robberies, where a decline began last summer. The LAPD registered 691 robbery reports in March. That is 145 fewer than during the same month last year, and is a 19.3% decrease from the 856 robberies in March 2019.
A related decline has occurred with robberies involving firearms. These incidents began spiking in fall 2021, and the peak came in March 2022, when the LAPD tallied 309 reports of robbery involving a gun.
Numbers have since fallen, and this March there were 181 reports of robbery with a gun—once again, the count was in line with monthly totals before the coronavirus.
The parts build up to an even greater whole. According to LAPD Compstat data, there were 6,742 violent crimes reported in the city from Jan. 1–April 1. That is an 11.7% decrease from the same period last year.
Numbers are also down from that timeframe in 2019. During the April 11 meeting of the Los Angeles Police Commission, Chief Michel Moore described that as a “base year” with which to compare present-day statistics.
“Compared to 2019,” Moore said, “we have a 2.2% reduction in violent crime in the city year to date.”
Hitting the shops
One category which shot up when the pandemic began was stolen vehicles, as thieves targeted cars that remained parked on the streets for extended periods. Yet even as old driving habits resumed, the problem only worsened—the 25,400 car thefts in the city in 2022 was the highest total in more than a decade.
The results in March were mixed, depending on the point of comparison. There were 2,026 car theft reports during the month. That is lower than nine different months in 2022.
However, on a historic scale it is extremely high. In March 2019 there were 1,385 vehicles stolen in the city.
There were 1,216 burglary reports in Los Angeles in March. That is in line with many months in the past year, and is also similar to March totals before the pandemic. For instance, in March 2019 there were 1,155 burglary reports.
As Crosstown recently reported, shoplifting in Los Angeles has surged in the past several months. The situation escalated in March, with 913 shoplifting reports, the highest monthly total since at least 2010.
The 913 incidents is more than double the count in the same month last year.
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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