LA Police Chief Michael Moore said as of Saturday, the city has reported 266 homicides. That figure has already surpassed the total number of homicides for 2018 which saw 260 homicides, and 2019 which saw 253 killings, the Los Angeles Times reported.
Los Angeles had not surpassed 300 homicides since 2009, when it recorded 312 killings that year. Speaking during a virtual meeting of the Police Commission on Monday, Moore called the violence plaguing 2020 a “terrible loss” and an “erosion” of progress that had been made in reducing violence.
The numbers though are nowhere near the historic levels reached during the 1980s and 1990s, when the city recorded more than 1,000 homicides some years. Homicides have been on a downward trend since the early 2000s.
Police have attributed the recent uptick in violence to lockdowns brought on by the coronavirus pandemic and the proliferation of protests against racial injustice and police brutality that rocked the city and the nation at large over the summer.
The violence has been particularly pronounced in South L.A., which has recorded a 50% increase in homicides compared with last year, the Times reported. LAPD data cited by the paper shows that nonfatal shootings, as of Oct. 10, are up more than 21% compared with last year.
The surge in violence comes amid the Democrat-controlled Los Angeles City Council vote to slash $150 million from the department’s budget – a move being carried out in other metropolitan areas across the nation in response to calls to defund the police.
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