Robberies in Los Angeles rise in the new year

Increase comes after a drop in 2023. Number of incidents with a gun draws concern

Illustration of a robber following a victim


After dropping in 2023, robberies in the city of Los Angeles are rising in the early part of the new year. Even more troubling is the number of instances that involve a firearm.


In the first two months of 2024, there were 1,427 robbery reports in the city, according to publicly available Los Angeles Police Department data. That is up 13.9% from the 1,253 incidents in the same time last year. 


“Robbery continues to plague us as a crime problem,” interim LAPD Chief Dominic Choi said at Tuesday’s meeting of the Los Angeles Police Commission.


While Choi expressed concern about the trend, he noted that the number of robberies so far this year is below the count at the same point in 2022. Prior to that the situation was even worse: In January and February of 2018 there were 1,736 reports.


Bar chart of total number of robberies in city of Los Angeles in January and February from 2018-2024


Robberies, like many crime categories, can fluctuate wildly for a variety of reasons. For example, in late 2021 there was a run-up in “follow-home” robberies, with thieves identifying victims carrying valuables, often at a restaurant or mall, and then following them home to rob them. The LAPD responded by creating a task force to address the issue. Numbers soon fell. 


In 2023 the LAPD tabulated 8,685 robbery reports, which was a 5% decline from the previous year. 


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The fewest number of robberies in the past decade was the 7,942 incidents in 2014. Three years later the count exceeded 10,800. Then the annual total declined for three consecutive years. 


Line chart of annual robbery total in the city of Los Angeles from 2014-2023


With numbers on the rise, Choi said the department has “done a deeper dive and can see where these are occurring, what times they are occurring.” He said that data is influencing how the LAPD allocates resources.


One crucial concern, Choi said, is the number of times a gun is involved. At an earlier Police Commission meeting he noted that robberies with a firearm accounted for 29% of robberies in Los Angeles in the first two months of the year.


There were 445 robberies involving a gun in January and February. In the same period last year the count was 391. 


Bar chart of total robberies with guns in city of Los Angeles in January and February from 2020-2024


Also on the rise are gang-related robberies. Choi said they are up 5.3% this year over 2023.


Densely populated Downtown has long recorded more robberies than any other neighborhood in the city. That continues to be the case, with 37 reports in the community in the first two months of 2024. The second-highest count was the 25 incidents in Westlake.


How we did it: We examined publicly available crime data from the Los Angeles Police Department from Feb. 1, 2014–Feb. 29, 2024. 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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