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L.A. Sees over 300 Homicides in 2009, 18% Lower than 2008

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Some were hoping Los Angeles would see under 300 homicides this year, but by December 26th, 308 had occurred, according to the latest LAPD COMPSTAT report. That number is still considerably lower--18.1% lower to be exact--than the 376 homicides of 2008, which was considered low back then. Countywide, there had been 721 homicides through December 14th, according to the Homicide Report. The challenge of 2010 for the new LAPD Chief Charlie Beck will be continuing the downtrend in crime. Much of the credit goes toward former Chief William Bratton--a Mayor Jim Hahn hire--and Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa's aggressive stance on putting 10,000 officers on the street. That said, crime is trending down nationally--Los Angeles is still doing better than the average, says Beck--so it is yet to be seen if Los Angeles can buck any increase in national crime trends and keep heading towards more peace.