The number of homicides reported in Los Angeles was 34% higher in January compared to the same month last year, despite overall crime in the city decreasing by 20%, according to a report released Thursday.

Almost 90% of January’s 39 homicide victims were male and Hispanic or Black, according to a report produced by Crosstown, a nonprofit news organization based out of the USC Annenberg School of Journalism.

Martin Luther King Jr. Day was “particularly deadly” with five reported homicides, the report said. In 2020, one homicide was reported that day.

The most homicides in January occurred in South Los Angeles’ Green Meadows neighborhood, where four victims were reported. The second-highest was in Boyle Heights, where three people were killed.

The increase in homicides for January follows a trend experienced throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2020, 350 homicides were reported in Los Angeles, a 36% increase over 2019, Crosstown reported.

LAPD Capt. Paul Vernon said last year officers were reassigned from areas with a high number of violent crime reports because they were needed for alternate duties related to COVID-19 and anti-racism demonstrations in May and June, according to Crosstown.

Chief Michel Moore said more officers will be reassigned to high-crime neighborhoods starting Sunday, Crosstown reported.

During Tuesday’s meeting of the Los Angeles Board of Police Commissioners, LAPD Assistant Chief Horace Frank said the increase in homicides is also occurring in other major U.S. cities and the LAPD is working with other agencies to advance ways of addressing it.

“We’re not an anomaly when you look at the crime trends, and yes, we are in very close communication with the other major city chiefs, almost on a weekly basis,” Frank said. “I know Chief Moore engaged in meetings with the Police Executive Research Forum and with the (Major Cities Chiefs Police Association) regarding this particular issue.

“What we’re seeing in Los Angeles is what they’re also seeing in places like New York, Chicago, Philadelphia.

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