LA County officials: Crime down 4 percent, violent crime down 14 percent

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Sheriff Lee Baca (R) of Los Angeles County shakes hands with U.S. Rep. Danny Davis (D-IL) (L)

Law enforcement authorities for L.A. County say crime rates fell significantly in 2011. Officials released statistics Wednesday during a news conference in Monterey Park.

Authorities announced that crime rates in L.A. County have fallen by more than 4 percent in the last year. Violent crimes — including homicide, rape, robbery and aggravated assaults — fell across L.A. County nearly 14 percent in the last year and more than 20 percent since 2006.

Sheriff Lee Baca said education-based prison programs, among other initiatives, helped lower the crime rate.

"There's also a transit service system that has networked throughout the entire county and deputy sheriffs are patrolling those areas," Baca said.

Sheriff Baca joined L.A. County supervisors and other elected officials as he presented the numbers. Baca recognized Lancaster and Compton as two cities in which gang violence and other crimes have drastically dropped in recent years.

Compton City Councilman Willie Jones said officials have worked with Captain Diane Walker of the L.A. County sheriff's station in the city of Compton.

"We have an issue with prostitution ,and part of that is in my district," Jones remarked. "But our city attorney has been working very closely with Captain Walker and her deputies to do stings ... that problem is not going to be completely gone but [has] tremendously ... come down."

The homicide rate in Compton has fallen by more than 40 percent in recent years. Baca said Compton has logged its lowest homicide rate in two decades.

But the sheriff and other authorities maintained that budget matters surrounding early parolee releases in the state's realignment plan could jeopardize the lower crime trend in L.A. County.

"The board members and myself are repeatedly messaging to Sacramento that you must fund what you have delivered to us," Baca emphasized. "That you cannot expect us to come up with new money. So there's a budget issue that already is in crisis."

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