Los Angeles Police Report Drop in Violent Crime, Increase in Property Crime in 2023


Los Angeles reported a slight decrease in violent crime last year—including 65 fewer homicides and 127 fewer victims of gun violence—outgoing Los Angeles Police Chief Michel Moore reported Jan. 24.

Crime in the nation’s second largest city continued to evolve in 2023, a year when more people died in car accidents than homicides, Mr. Moore said during a press conference at Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) headquarters Wednesday.

While murders dropped, there was a 3.5 percent increase in theft, including flash robberies and auto theft, petty theft, and burglaries, he said while reporting end-of-year statistics.

Mr. Moore, who will retire in February, and Mayor Karen Bass highlighted the city’s improvements in fighting crime and vowed to continue strategies in reducing organized retail crime, address homelessness, reduce felony hit-and-run deaths, and target the increase in crime.

They also want to work on helping people feel safer in their communities, the chief said.

“There is much more work to be done, and I’m proud of the measurable results that have been achieved,” Mr. Moore said. “But I also recognize that the perception of safety remains a concern across this great city.”

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Overall, the city realized a 3 percent reduction in violent crime, with over 1,000 fewer crime victims in the city last year, according to LAPD statistics.

Los Angeles Police Department headquarters in Los Angeles, on Jan 27, 2023. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)
Los Angeles Police Department headquarters in Los Angeles, on Jan 27, 2023. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)

Most significantly, the chief added, was the success of a 17 percent reduction in murders for the second consecutive year. That included a 26 percent drop in gang-related murders, which is a first for the city, he said.

Homicide detectives working on gang-related crime reported resolving more than 75 percent of homicide reports with arrests.

The LAPD also reported a 10 percent decrease in victims shot in 2023 compared to 2022. The chief attributed the improvement to the department’s seizure of nearly 8,200 firearms last year. Of those, LAPD identified more than 1,200 ghost guns, which are untraceable firearms.

A 2 percent rise in automobile thefts, however, overshadowed other crime reductions. The city was targeted by criminals seeking Kia and Hyundai vehicles last year. The national phenomenon involves thieves who target certain models of the vehicles, because authorities say they have a shortcoming that makes them susceptible to theft. Theft of those particular vehicles dominated the increase in auto theft, the chief said.

In 2019, Kia and Hyundai thefts made up less than 4 percent of all auto thefts in the city. Last year, that rose to just under 30 percent, according to the chief.

“These vehicles many times are owned and operated by residents [and] that’s their only means of transportation to and from work, to and from medical appointments, or getting their children back and forth to school,” Mr. Moore said.

Businesses also saw a substantial reduction in smash-and-grab robberies, while residents reported fewer follow-home robberies, he said.

Police officers and detectives investigated several thefts last year, resulting in 279 felony arrests and recovered 413 firearms, including 59 ghost guns, the chief reported.

“A challenging trend that we have seen on the rise is property crime, where we saw a year-over-year increase of 3 percent,” Mr. Moore said. “Those increases are residential and commercial burglaries, which began toward the second half of the year.”

Retail space once belonging to a clothing store now sits boarded up in El Segundo, in Los Angeles County, Calif., on June 25, 2020. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)
Retail space once belonging to a clothing store now sits boarded up in El Segundo, in Los Angeles County, Calif., on June 25, 2020. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)

Citywide, thefts increased by 16 percent, which included 137 “flash robberies,” involving a group of suspects stealing goods from retail outlets. The police department partnered with other local law enforcement agencies and the California Highway Patrol to create an Organized Retail Theft Task Force in August to address the crimes.

Since then, the task force made 600 arrests and recovered 29 firearms and $5.5 million in property, according to Mr. Moore.

As a result, the city had a 33 percent reduction in flash robberies from August to the end of 2023, compared to the same period in 2022.

Robberies involving a firearm represented 30 percent of all such crimes in the city, an increase from prior years when guns were used in 15 percent to 20 percent of robberies, according to the chief.

The department hopes to address gun violence “head on,” Mr. Moore said, by identifying who is trafficking the guns and ensuring those who are arrested for using guns in a crime receive “enhancements” to their charges, which makes prosecutions and punishments more severe.

And for the first time in nine years, more people died in traffic crashes than were murdered. The majority of crashes that caused fatalities were attributed to driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, speeding, and driving while distracted, the department said.

Fatal hit-and-run accidents increased by 23 percent last year, while driving under the influence rose by 32 percent. Fatal traffic crashes involving a pedestrian also increased by nearly 13 percent.

The LAPD plans to expand efforts to educate the public on safe and responsible driving practices this year and address dangerous driving behavior through focused enforcement and checkpoints that target driving under the influence, according to the department.

The police chief also commended the mayor for making strides with the homeless population, which has improved crime around encampments, he said.

“We’re seeing safer communities, with a nearly 10 percent reduction in crime involving homelessness and homeless individuals,” he said.

The department made several improvements to staffing, including giving raises and bonuses to employees, Ms. Bass said. The city also took pressure off sworn officers by creating the Office of Community Safety, a community-led effort, and the CIRCLE Program that uses non-sworn officers to answer some calls for service, including mental health and homeless-related calls.


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