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LAPD, LA County Sheriff Find Homicides Up Again In 2021

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — Crime is on the rise in Los Angeles, and the increasing number of homicides is especially troubling to Los Angeles city and authorities.

There was a 94% increase in homicides from 2019 to 2021 in areas patrolled by the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department. In 2019, there were 145 homicides in Los Angeles County, a number that went up to 199 in 2020. Sheriff Alex Villanueva did not specify last year's homicides, but he said he believes that number is about 280.

The LAPD is also reporting a similarly sharp increase in homicides for those years. In 2019, there were 258 homicides in areas patrolled by the LAPD, a number that jumped to 355 in 2020. Homicides continued to rise in 2021 to 397, according to numbers released Thursday by the LAPD -- the highest number in nearly a decade. However, the LAPD noted that the City of Angels was nowhere near the most murderous city in the nation – that distinction went to Chicago, followed by Philadelphia, New York, and Houston.

According to the statistics released by the LAPD, 1,499 people were shot in 2021 compared to 1,337 in 2020, and the number of guns recovered in LAPD-patrolled areas skyrocketed from 6,536 in 2020 to 8,661 in 2021. The number of untraceable "ghost guns" saw a similar jump from 813 recovered in 2020 to 1,921 in 2021.

"We focused on ghost guns, including a federal task force that we jointly were a part of, doubling the number of ghost guns seized last year and getting 2,000 of these firearms off the streets in a major win," LA Mayor Eric Garcetti said.

Last year also saw a major jump in follow-home and apparent flash mob robberies, which prompted the LAPD to form a violent crime task force. Since the task force's formation, those crimes have waned, LAPD Chief Michel Moore said.

"The follow-home task force resulted in three murder arrests and 11 arrests for robbery," Moore said. "We've sharply impacted this brazen and disturbing trend that we saw where people were targeted for jewelry and other high-end valuables."

But the area where the LAPD may need most improvement is in officer-involved shootings. LAPD's number of fatal officer-involved shootings went up to 37 in 2021 -- 18 of which were fatal. That's up from 28 officer-involved shootings -- seven of which were fatal -- in 2020. A shooting on Christmas Eve that killed a 14-year-old girl in a Burlington dressing room as LAPD officers struggled to take an assault suspect in custody is particularly troubling to the Los Angeles Police Commission.

"After this review, the commissioners will consider new policies designed to preserve life," Commissioner William Briggs said.


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