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ApocaLAypse Watch: Murder Capital of America?

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If you're running south to avoid the La Canada-Flintridge fire, we reccomend that you don't run too far south, since Compton looks like it's about to become the Murder Capital of America. Last night on The West Wing, SoCal residents found themselves running for their lives, but not knowing which way to run. While LA isn't about to have radioactive steam vented into the atmosphere (it's bad enough already, thank you very much), the news today is liable to make even the calmest Angeleno worry where they can find a safe haven in our fair city nowadays.

A Bloomberg report asserts that "homicides in Compton soared 72 percent last year, with 67 murders in a city of 97,000 people," which is apparantley enough to gain the dubious honor of "murder capital." R. Doyle Campbell, assistant sherriff of Compton explains that the average murder costs about $1 million to prosecute, so not only is this news likely to scare residents, but businesses as well.

The rise of homicide in Compton bucks the national trend, with both New York and the city of Los Angeles reporting less homicides this year than in recent years. "You get what you pay for," says LA Police Chief William Bratton, whose department patrols Compton since the city disbanded its own police force in 2002 to save money. On the plus side, the Compton City Council has agreed to spend $225,000 this year to hire new deputies, but it's clear that a lot more needs to be done before violence subsides.

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Case in point: Last Thursday, a Compton woman was kidnapped and beaten before being rescued Sunday by police. Kudos to the officers for saving the woman, but jeers to the city leaders who have allowed this kind of thing to become such a commonplace occurence.