A handgun being fired with a plume of fire extending from the barrel and into the air.
A handgun being fired. Photo from Pixabay.

Los Angeles police Chief Michel Moore Friday said a recent uptick in violent crime in South Los Angeles and in other parts of the city could be related to the pandemic and the increased stress placed on community members.

At a news conference in front of the Los Angeles Police Department’s Southeast Station, Moore described “a spasm of violence — some 11 shootings and two homicides, just since Tuesday, here in these very neighborhoods.”

“That was on top of an increase in shooting violence and homicides that are occurring in other parts of the city as well … with 39 additional homicides as a city versus last year; 101 additional shooting victims from a year ago” Moore said.

“This is a pace of shooting and violence that we’ve not seen in years, and it has grown from an effort that began (and) issues that we saw in June and July, and now has continued to accelerate.

“And this week, I fear, given the velocity, is `Where is the lid on this? Where is the top?’ The violence just here in this area — year to date — 40 individuals less than 18 years of age have been shooting victims. Nine of them were under 10 years of age.

“This is violence that’s impacting not just people standing on a corner against other individuals standing on a corner. This is violence that is hitting our very young and our very innocent.”

Moore said some of the increase in violence could be related to the pandemic and the increased stress placed on community members, especially because of the need for social distancing.

“We are social animals,” Moore said. “We exist as an entity that works better when we work together. And this pandemic is interrupting all of that. And it’s assisting — in my belief — to fueling that, not just here in Los Angeles but across the country.”

Moore was accompanied at the news conference by Los Angeles officials and community members he referred to as a “coalition” working with law enforcement to address the problems of violence.

“And so, what I’m asking for today is for all of Los Angeles — particularly South Los Angeles — to look at this coalition,” Moore said. “It is powerful, but it needs your help; it needs your involvement; it needs your voice.

“I’m looking to the City Council to continue to invest not only in this department, but in their intervention and prevention efforts,” Moore said. “We have a society, a community, right now that’s suffering … in that health crisis, and we’re seeing in evidence in the street with violence.”

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