Crime & Justice

Despite recent spike in violence this past weekend, police in LA County say violent crime is down

LAPD crime tape blocks public access during a recent investigation.
LAPD crime tape blocks public access during a recent investigation.
Erika Aguilar/KPCC

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Over the weekend, 10 people died in shootings or stabbings in Los Angeles County. The crimes were spread out from Long Beach north to Culver City, from Los Angeles east to Palmdale. Various law enforcement agencies say though the weekend was brutal, crime numbers show that violence is down compared to 2012.

“Violent crime and crimes of that nature are trending downwards, statistically,” said Sgt. Rich Peña of the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department.

Overall statistics from the sheriff's department show an approximate 8 percent drop in violent crime (also known as Part 1 crime incidents) for the areas the agency patrols when comparing August 2013 to August 2012.

“The fact that we had this many shootings and this many homicides in Los Angeles County is just an aberration,” Peña said.

But zoom into smaller communities like Compton – where three people died in three separate shootings during the weekend. LASD’s Compton station statistics for August 2013 show a 13.5 percent increase in violent crime incidents versus August 2012 stats.  

Sgt. Peña​ warns of the different ways to look at crime statistics by expanding or shortening the time periods. He said the Compton shootings don’t appear to be indicative of gang retaliation but that could change as homicide detectives dig deeper into their investigations.

The same goes for Long Beach police says Sgt. Aaron Eaton. Detectives don’t know yet if a fatal shooting on Friday is gang related. At about 10 p.m., two men and two women were shot in the 6500 block of Rose Avenue as they celebrated a birthday with a group of friends at a house. A suspect walked up to the victims sitting beside the house and shot them.

The men, Sophon Kao, 26, and Jerry Chim, 24, died at the scene from gunshot wounds to the chest. The women are in serious but stable condition.

The shooting in Long Beach combined with the other shootings throughout the weekend make it seem like violent crime in that city are up but Eaton said their numbers this year show otherwise.

“We’re still at a long time low in violent crime,” Eaton said. “At this point, we’re about 15 percent below in violent crime overall for this year.”

Marie Glenn, 59, lives near 106th and South Crenshaw in Inglewood where another shooting happened during the weekend. A 30-year old woman was killed and a 24-year old man was hospitalized, according to Inglewood police. Witnesses say the two were standing near their car when another vehicle pulled up alongside and a suspect shot them.

Glenn said she heard the shots but didn’t go outside to see. She’s lived in the neighborhood for more than 30 years. She said crime is nothing like it was a decade ago when she witnessed bodies lying on the ground in blood. But Glenn said weekends like these make her feel for a moment like crime rates are what they were in the year 2000. 

“I hope it is getting better because in the news, it’s depressing,” she said. “Every time I turn on the channel, somebody got shot, somebody got killed. Every station I turn to, they are reporting the same incident over and over.”

Maria Glenn has lived near 106th and South Crenshaw in Inglewood for more than 30 years.

The following is a list of violent incidents from September 20 to September 22: