The Crosstown Crime Book: October 2023

Murders and gun violence are rising again in Los Angeles, and so are car thefts

Illustration of case files folder with blue light


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 October.


In the first nine months of the year, Los Angeles experienced a dramatic drop in violence, highlighted by a 24% reduction in homicides. The situation changed in October.


There were 34 murders in the city during the month. That is the second-highest total this year, and indicates that a decline in homicides the city had experienced for much of the past year, and which law enforcement officials hoped to build upon, may be difficult to sustain.


Line chart of homicides by month in Los Angeles in 2023


The LAPD tabulated 276 murders from Jan. 1–Oct. 31. That is below the 337 killings at this point in 2022, but the year-over-year decrease is now down to 18.2%.


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The October count is also troubling when compared with the same month in the past. It is higher than any October since 2018, except for the pandemic year of 2020 (when homicide rates were soaring across the country).


Bar chart of murders in Los Angeles in October over 6 years


The increase in homicides corresponds with a rise in gunshots. There were 288 shots-fired reports in the city in October. That is the highest monthly figure since April 2022.


Police Chief Michel Moore addressed the matter at the Oct. 24 meeting of the Los Angeles Police Commission.


“We have seen a significant increase in the level of shooting violence across the city and we’ve lost many of the gains that we earned earlier in the year,” Moore stated. “The efforts of the department is to understand the nature of this shooting violence. We’ve seen that they’ve involved both a series of gang violence, as well as increased instances of persons experiencing homelessness that have been victims of shooting violence.”


Line chart of shots-fired reports in Los Angeles in 2023


San Pedro recorded 19 shots-fired reports in October, more than any other neighborhood in the city. The next-highest counts were in Downtown (17) and Florence (14).


According to LAPD Compstat data, total violent crime in approximately the first 10 months of the year is down 5.7%. 


That includes a 7.9% drop in robberies. However, there once again is reason for concern: There were 815 robbery reports in the city in October. That is the second-highest monthly total this year. It also is 10.9% above the number of robberies in October 2022.


Crimes involving cars

When it comes to vehicles, October brought mixed results. There were 2,255 reports of car break-ins during the month. That is down 29% from a high reached last December. It is also much lower than all recent Octobers except for the COVID year of 2020.


Horizontal bar chart of car break-ins in Los Angeles over six Octobers


Car thefts were another matter. The 2,374 reports marks the third-highest monthly total since 2010. Just six months before, in April, the count was 1,852.


Line chart of car thefts by month in Los Angeles in 2023


There was a rash of vehicle thefts in Downtown last month, with 158 reports, an average of more than five each day. The neighborhoods with the next highest counts were Boyle Heights and Koreatown (70 each).


Overall property crime in the first 10 months of the year is 1.7% above the same period last year. That includes a nearly 14% spike in the category of Personal/Other Theft, which covers shoplifting.


Yet the wave of retail crimes may be receding. According to police data, there were 808 shoplifting reports last month. Although that is higher than any October since at least 2010, there were five months this year with more than 1,000 shoplifting reports.


Line chart of monthly shoplifting reports in the city of Los Angeles


As with many crimes, certain neighborhoods get hit harder than others. In October, there were 80 shoplifting reports in the Westside community of Sawtelle. The next-highest totals were in Canoga Park (58) and Downtown (50).


The month also brought a continued decline in identity theft. In October 2022, the LAPD tallied 2,022 reports of identity theft. Last month the figure was 512.


How we did it: We examined publicly available crime data from the Los Angeles Police Department from Oct. 1, 2018–Oct. 31, 2023. 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.


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