This is an archival story that predates current editorial management.
This archival content was written, edited, and published prior to LAist's acquisition by its current owner, Southern California Public Radio ("SCPR"). Content, such as language choice and subject matter, in archival articles therefore may not align with SCPR's current editorial standards. To learn more about those standards and why we make this distinction, please click here.
Just Put Down the Knife - We're All Your Friends Here
The city seems to have gone completely mad. From a 16 year-old shot in Northridge to a 70 year-old stabbed to death in Hollywood, Sunday was just another day in what is starting to feel like an out-of-control crime wave.
In just the last few months, a man stabbed people in a movie theater while they watched a horror movie, a woman stabbed her own mother, and a man dressed as a skeleton terrorized North Hollywood before being shot while robbing an Auto Zone with a butcher knife. It's no longer safe to pick lemons in your own yard, go to school, drive the freeways, attend a concert, or even to be exonerated and let out of jail.
Things are no better behind the Orange curtain either, where people are going berserk in malls and packing dead women in dry ice. A Yorba Linda Man missed official Kill Your Family Day by just a few weeks. Women and children were gunned down in the quiet neighborhood of Baldwin Park, and even the traditionally mellow South Bay was harboring drugs, guns and major creepiness.
The Santa Anas aren't blowing, we aren't in the midst of a heat wave, and they're putting tranquilizers in our water, so WTF? What is making everyone so damn stabby?
Perhaps some of the crimes may be related to to brewing gang wars. But not neccessarily, according to Police Chief William Bratton, who is quoted by AP as saying:
Los Angeles has recorded 74 homicides this year [now 75], a 27 percent increase from the same time last year. Still, Bratton said overall crime is down, as are gang-related homicides - from 28 last year to 22 so far this year.
The LAPD reports that out of 16 homicides in the San Fernando Valley this year, only two are believed to be gang related.
But even factoring in gang violence, there is something more going on here. Gangs don't make men snap and kill their families, or dress up like a skeleton and then go rob Auto Zone with a butcher knife. At least not any gang that wasn't in The Warriors.
As affordable housing becomes a limited resource, many news reports blame the recent outbreak of violence on Hispanics moving into traditionally black neighborhoods. But housing is a limited resource everywhere in Los Angeles, not just in lower-income areas. Despite falling housing prices, affordable housing is hard to come by all over the city. Our water is tainted, our freeways are at a standstill, and we had to move daylight savings time up in order to conserve electricity.
Perhaps Los Angeles has reached maximum capacity. Like rats in a cage, maybe we are going to become more and more violent as the population increases. It's nature's way of thinning the herd.
Photo by the Illustrious Entitled13 via Flickr