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Murder Rate Continues to Dwindle as City Staff is Asked to Develop a Layoff Plan that Includes Police

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Perhaps the most sobering news that came out of yesterday's 11-hour L.A. City Council budget committee session was a request to see a layoff plan that included police and firefighters. The current proposal to layoff 1,000 employees, which was not recommended by the committee late Monday evening, left public safety jobs off the table, but Councilman Bernard Parks, the former LAPD Chief, wanted to see the "grimmest picture" possible, according to the LA Times. The council is faced with a $208 million budget shortfall this year and will be up against a $484 million one come July 1st.

It's been a Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa mantra to keep the number of sworn officers current, if not growing, and according to his Chief of Staff they have other plans in regards to saving police money. "On the mayor's part, public safety and, in particular, the police department, is his number one priority," Matt Szabo told Fox 11 News. "The last option is taking police officers off the street. We have a number of proposals out there to restructure how we manage city government more cheaply and more effectively, and reducing the LAPD is not in the city's best interest."

Meanwhile, killings in Los Angeles were down 40% compared to January last year, according to a Times analysis. In fact, homicides were down across the county. 2009 saw extremely low murder rates and if this trend continues, 2010 could be yet another record breaking year.

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