The city of Los Angeles has recorded its 300th homicide this year equalling a total last reached in 2009.
Despite various lockdowns due to the coronavirus pandemic, there has been a 32% increase in shootings.
After a brief lull in killings that police attributed in part to lockdowns associated with the COVID-19 pandemic earlier in the year, homicides and shootings began to rise again and then spiked this summer.
Police Chief Michel Moore has said that he believes some of the increased crime is due to problems related to the pandemic, such as economic struggles and virus-related restrictions on services and interventions.
A $150-million budget cut that forced LAPD to begin reducing its ranks of sworn officers by several hundred
LAPD Police Chief Michel Moore called the pace of violence in 2020 a ‘terrible loss’ and an ‘erosion’ of progress that had been made reducing gun violence in the city in recent years
This year’s spike in violence mirrors that seen in other cities across the country including Houston, Chicago and New York.
Last year, the city recorded 253 homicides, with 260 in 2018.
Four shootings that took place overnight Saturday into Sunday nudged the city over the 300-death mark for the first time in a decade.
The victims were 17-year-old boy riding a bike, a 50-year-old homeless man, a 20-year-old man and a 41-year-old woman.
‘The reality is there are 300,’ Los Angeles Police Department Captain Stacy Spell said to the LA Times. ‘It’s tragic.’
The majority of the violence was in South L.A. and Central L.A.
In the Los Angeles Police Department’s South Bureau, which covers South L.A., homicides are up by 50% from last year.
In addition to homicides, nonfatal shootings are also up.
As of October, the number of victims who had been shot was up more than 21% compared with the same time last year, according to the latest set of data from the LAPD.
Moore called the pace of violence in 2020 a ‘terrible loss’ and an ‘erosion’ of progress that had been made reducing gun violence in the city in recent years.
He said he believed that economic struggles have increased across the city’s population.
The threat of the virus has undercut efforts to provide services and interventions for individuals who have been victims of shootings and may be vulnerable to becoming perpetrators of retaliatory violence.
Moore also said more people seem to be carrying guns around.
Adding to the problem, the increase in violence comes as the LAPD works to reorganize after a $150-million budget cut that forced it to begin reducing its ranks of sworn officers by several hundred.
Despite the figures being the highest in more than ten years, the city is still some way off the shocking statistics on the 1980s and 90s when some years experienced more than 1,000 killings.
Killings that pushed LA homicides to 300
A 50-year-old man was found with multiple gunshot wounds near the intersection of Long Beach Avenue and East 25th Street and pronounced dead at the scene.
It’s believed that both the victim and a suspect in the case were homeless.
Officers were called to the 1700 block of Imperial Highway after reports of another shooting.
A 17-year-old boy was found suffering from gunshot wounds.
Police say the boy ‘was riding his bike in that general area when an unknown suspect approached in a vehicle and fired multiple shots.’
The boy was pronounced dead on the way to a local hospital. There is no information on the suspect.
Police responded to another shooting near West 75th Street and South Broadway, one block away from 77th Street police station.
Officers found a 20-year-old man fatally wounded by gunfire and he was pronounced dead at the scene.
The shooting occurred after an argument with another man, who was taken into custody.
A double shooting occurred near Vermont Avenue and West 93rd Street.
Unknown suspects opened fire, wounding a 37-year-old man and a 41-year-old woman.
The victims were taken to hospital in critical condition. The woman died just after midnight.