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Crime Spiked In All Categories In 2015, But Don't Worry, LAPD Says

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LAPD (Photo by Steven Bevacqua via the LAist Featured Photos pool on Flickr)
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Crime rose this year in all categories across L.A. for the first time in over a decade, but the LAPD says we shouldn't be worried about the data. According to preliminary numbers from the LAPD, violent crime spiked by 19.9% and property crime jumped by 10.3% in 2015 compared to the previous year, reports the L.A. Times. This is the second year in a row that violent crime rose, but the first time that both categories increased over the past 12 years. And while the rising numbers may be cause for concern, police officials and criminologists urge the public to consider them in a larger context.

"We ask people to keep this in perspective," Assistant Chief Michel Moore, who heads up the LAPD's crime-tracking unit, told the Times. "The city is not on fire, the city is not falling into the ocean."

As KPCC points out, the LAPD contends that they've improved their methods for accurately counting aggravated assaults after an investigation by the L.A. Times revealed poor accounting. So, the increase may in part reflect more accurate numbers rather than an actual spike. Aggravated assaults account for the biggest portion of violent crimes in 2015, which also includes robbery, rape and homicide.

And while the numbers on the whole are troubling, the spike also comes at a time of historic lows. Franklin Zimring, professor of criminology at U.C. Berkeley, points out to KPCC that while there were 280 murders across L.A. as of last week—26 more than during 2014—the number is far lower than the 1,100 murders recorded in 1990.

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Of course, improved accounting and relativity doesn't offer much comfort if you're directly affected by increases in crime. Parts of South L.A. and areas just south of downtown saw significant increases in violent crime this year, according to the Times. To address the issue, LAPD commanders have increasingly deployed their elite Metro squad to high crime areas and also partnered with gang intervention workers. As a result, the Times reports that citywide violent crime numbers fell by 1%, while property crime numbers remained unchanged.

And lest we think the increases were concentrated in any particular area of the city, all 21 LAPD divisions reported crime increases this year, according to the report. The Central Division, which includes portions of Downtown, Skid Row and Chinatown, saw the biggest increase in both violent and property crimes compared with the rest of the city.