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2009 Crime Numbers Released: Crime is Down, Most Murders Solved

Mayor Villaraigosa speaks. Behind him, left to right: Police Commission President John Mack, LA City Council President Eric Garcetti and LAPD Chief Charlie Beck | Tyrone D. Washington/City of LA
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"It is mind boggling that we have continued to drive crime down in the numbers and we've done it in no small part because of the men and women of this police department," said Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa at today's press conference discussing 2009 crime statistics. "We're still the most under policed big city police department in the United States of America," he said, referring to Los Angeles' size of force--just under 10,000 officers--and size of coverage--456 square miles.

As 2009 approached, LAist made note of the low murder rate. By year end, Los Angeles saw 314 murders, an 18% dip--69 less than last year--when compared to 2008. That number is the lowest since 1967 (just don't fall into the rhetoric of saying the city is as safe as the 50s or 60s). That's much better than the 90s when there were over 1,000 murders. With lower murder rate, detectives and resources were able to hone in on cases and close 83% of them. Some detectives were afforded time to go into cold case files, even arresting one of their own for a murder back in the 80s.

In all, crime went down by 9% when compared to 2008. That adds another year to the now-seven year trend of crime rates in decline. There were 116,050 violent and property crimes reported. Statistically speaking, Los Angeles experienced the biggest improvement among major American cities, save for San Diego who did better, according to Villaraigosa.