Last year, Los Angeles recorded 347 homicides, a 36% increase over the previous year and the first time in more than a decade that the annual figure surpassed 300. According to Chief of Police Michel Moore, growing gang violence and other activities are contributing to the increase. The city has the highest homicide rate of any police department in America's most populous county.
The number of people killed in L.A. is also higher than most cities its size. In 2005, there were on average just over 40 homicides per 100,000 residents, compared with 25 per 100,000 in San Francisco, 30 in New York, and 40 in Chicago.
In addition to homicides, Los Angeles has the highest rate of arrest for murder in the country. The number of people arrested for murder in L.A. exceeds the combined total of Houston, Dallas, and Phoenix. In fact, you're more likely to be arrested for murder in Los Angeles than in Baltimore or Cleveland.
The majority of murders in Los Angeles go unreported. Only about one in four homicides results in an arrest. The rate of unsolved homicides is high by national standards-about 65%-and has been increasing since 1992 when there were 1,624 cases without a suspect.
After years of declining crime rates, Los Angeles has seen two major increases in murder this century.
In 2020, Los Angeles saw a drop in overall crime, but homicides increased by 36%. In 2020, the city of Los Angeles saw a 9% decrease in overall crime, but a 36% increase in homicides and a 41% increase in victims shot.
Crime is rising in L.A. - especially homicide. In 2019, there were almost 700 murders in Los Angeles - a record for the city. That's more than one person killed every other day. There have been more than 800 murders this year so far. The number of people murdered in L.A. is on track to be the highest since 2008, when 812 people were killed.
The murder rate is out of control, and no one seems to want to do anything about it. Critics say that Mayor Eric Garcetti's focus on social justice causes has made him blind to other issues, like crime. "He's not seeing the full picture. He's not seeing the whole picture," said Paul Williams, who has served as police chief for both L.A. mayors. "And unless he sees the whole picture, he can't make an informed decision."
Garcetti responded to the criticism by saying that he would rather focus on public safety than be focused on crime statistics. But some experts believe that crime is being under-reported in Los Angeles.
When these are excluded, the number of homicides rises by 89 percent, from 606 to 695. The number of killings was at its highest since the fiscal year ended March 31, 2008, when 729 were reported. There have been more than 700 homicides on record since the start of the modern policing era in 1949.
At least 243 people have been killed in Baltimore since January 1. That's about one death every three days. Of those deaths, about two-thirds (152) were men and about one-third (91) were women. The average age of a Baltimore victim is 39 years old. More than half (129) of the victims were black, while nearly one-quarter (57) were white.
There are several possible reasons why there are so many murders in Baltimore. Here are just a few:
- Poverty. A large percentage of Baltimore's residents live below the poverty line, with nearly one in five children growing up in a family that cannot afford food every day.
- Violence. The murder rate is high because of the number of guns available in the city.
In comparison, San Francisco had a 17% rise in homicides from 2019 to 2020, rising from 41 to 48. And the city's murder rate in 2020 was still 15% lower than in 2017. The current drop in murder rates is simply one component of San Francisco's decades-long steady fall in all types of violent crime. Since 1990, police reports show a 44% drop in murders and 23% drop in nonfatal shootings.
The number of people murdered in San Francisco has risen over the past decade. From 2005 to 2015, there were between 52 and 79 murders per year, depending on how you count them. This year is already higher than that range; so far this year, there have been 39 murders in San Francisco.
Most of the increase can be attributed to two wars that have broken out over the past few years between gangs known as the Fillmore Gang and the Frat Boy gang. These gangs usually fight over control of drug trafficking in neighborhoods near Golden Gate Park and on the west side of the city. They also battle over women and money. In addition, there have been more killings this year within the same families than there were last year. For example, two siblings have been killed within a week of each other this year.
Fillmore Street is one of the main streets running through San Francisco's financial district. It is named after an early California pioneer family who owned much of the land around what is now Golden Gate Park.