LA Crime Down for Fifth Consecutive Year

January 2, 2007

Los Angeles: Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and Police Chief William Bratton today announced that preliminary statistics for 2006 show the City’s crime rate has dropped for a fifth straight year.

"While some areas of the city have seen increases in specific types of crime like robberies and gang violence, overall Los Angeles continues to become an even safer place to live, work and visit," said Chief Bratton. "The men and women of the LAPD are proving yet again that despite limited resources, with focused and targeted enforcement, cops can and do count."

The per capita crime rate for Part I crime remained below the 1956 level for the second year in a row. Preliminary totals show that nearly 11,000 fewer persons were victimized by major crime last year.

According to the FBI’s mid-year Uniform Crime Report (UCR), published last July, Los Angeles placed second behind New York as the safest city among the ten largest in the nation. Los Angeles had eclipsed San Diego for the first time at mid-year 2005 and maintained its position at the end of 2005 with a crime rate of 351 per 10,000 residents.

While violent crime was up 3.7% mid-year across the nation, it declined in Los Angeles by 2.6% as the year closed. Property crime in Los Angeles dropped 9%, exceeding the national decline of 2.6%.

All but one of the eight categories of Part I crime showed decreases for the last five years. In 2006, homicides dropped 2.4%, the lowest since 1999; rape decreased 7.4%; aggravated assaults dropped 9.1%; burglary dipped 8.7%; car burglary dropped 9.2%; personal and other theft decreased 9.7%; and auto theft dropped 8.3%. Robbery was the only major crime category in the City to increase in 2006 after being down for the last 4 years.

The jump in robbery paralleled the nation’s, but at a lower rate. At mid-year, the national robbery rate was up 8.4% in the major metropolitan counties. At one point during the year, robberies rose over 10% across the City, but the year ended with the robbery rate up 5.3%. The largest increases occurred in the San Fernando Valley despite nearly 24% more arrests for robbery, including the capture of several prolific serial robbers.

The drop in crime is significant compared to LA’s most violent year, 1992, when Part I crimes were 317,796, and homicides were 1,083. In 2006, Part I crimes dropped 55% (as compared to 1992) to 142,502, and homicides declined 56%, to 478.

Victims of shootings declined steadily over the last 5 years. In 2002, 647 persons were murdered and 2,903 were shot. In 2006, 211 fewer victims were killed and 689 fewer persons were shot.

In 2006, the LAPD policed the city with a ratio of about one officer for every 445 residents, less than half the rate of New York City. "The LAPD’s successes in reducing crime over the last five years happened in spite of being one of the most understaffed departments in the nation," Chief Bratton remarked. "In recognition of this, Mayor Villaraigosa and the City Council have authorized the hiring of 1,000 more officers over the next few years."

The following chart shows the change in Part I crime nationwide from 2004 to 2005, compared to changes for Los Angeles in 2005 and 2006:

US – 2005 Crime LA – 2005 Preliminary
LA – 2006
+3.3% Homicide -6.0% -2.4%
-1.2% Rape -16.3% -7.4%
+3.9% Robbery -4.1% +5.3%
+1.8% Aggravated Assault -40.0% -9.1%
+2.3% Violent Crime -26.8% -2.6%
+0.5% Burglary -5.6% -8.7%
-2.3% Larceny Theft -12.2% -9.7%
-0.2% Auto Theft -6.6% -8.3%
-1.5% Property Crime -9.6% -9.0%
+1.% Part I Crime -14.0% -7.7%

The following chart shows the rankings of the ten largest US cities for crime rates per 10,000 residents as of mid-year 2006, according to the FBI’s UCR. The last column shows the officer-to-resident ratio for each city.

Crime Rate Crime Rate
City Population Mid-2006 End 2005 Ofc : Res Ratio
1 New York 8,101,321 119 268 1:228
2 Los Angeles 3,864,018 173 385 1:426
3 San Diego 1,281,366 201 415 1:631
4 Chicago 2,882,746 215 457 1:216
5 Philadelphia 1,484,224 268 557 1:219
6 Las Vegas Metro 1,239,805 293 558 1:624
7 Houston 2,043,446 344 706 1:403
8 San Antonio 1,235,128 342 708 1:619
9 Phoenix 1,428,973 344 709 1:500
10 Dallas 1,228,613 399 848 1:419