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Homicide Rate May Hit All-Time Low in 37 Years

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As 2007 winds down to its close, local law enforcement agencies anticipate the year's homicide numbers to be lower than the low set in 1970. The Daily News is reporting that "As of Dec. 15, 379 people had been killed in Los Angeles this year, with about 200 of those incidents gang-related. The overall homicide rate is down 17 percent from last year." In 1970, 394 people were killed in Los Angeles.

More cops in known gang areas is perhaps what has led to a pronounced decrease in gang-affiliated homicides; for example, only 25 gang-related deaths are on the record books for this year in the San Fernando Valley, out of 62 reported homicides. "In the Valley alone, gang-related killings have been nearly cut in half from 2006, when there were 46." Again, according to the Daily News:

Deputy Chief Michel Moore, who oversees policing in the Valley, cites the agency's work to capture deportable gang members and a program that lets probation officers go out with gang officers to check up on released offenders. Moore also said a new violent-crime task force targeting high-crime areas also has helped keep the violence in check.

Furthermore, the decrease in homicides has been felt throughout LA County, as the Sheriff's Department is reporting a figure 25 percent lower than that of 2006. "Police attribute the decline to a variety of factors, including more focused policing - and chance." Is it luck? With
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gang violence decreed as a top priority at the onset of 2007 by Mayor Tony and LAPD Chief Bratton, the numbers indicate that at least fatalities are lessening. With just a few days left on the calendar, we may indeed set a new low since 1970.

Photo by macwagen via Flickr