Overall crime in the city of Los Angeles dipped slightly in the first half of the year, but the number of killings soared to its highest level in more than a decade, according to a report released Friday.
Data compiled by Crosstown, a nonprofit news organization based at the USC Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism, show there were 179 killings in the city between Jan 1 and June 30, a 31.6% jump from the same period last year and a 38.8% increase from 2019.
January was the deadliest month of the year so far, with 39 people killed, according to Crosstown. There were 38 killings in June.
The city is on pace to surpass last year, when Los Angeles saw more than 300 killings for the first time in more than a decade, Crosstown reported. There were 343 killings in the city last year, up 34% from 2019.
Crosstown noted that the number of killings in the city began spiking shortly after the COVID-19 pandemic began last year.
Overall crime in the city, however, is actually down 4% in the first six months of the year, compared to the same period last year. But killings are up, and aggravated assaults have risen by 13%, according to Crosstown.
Data show that 73.2% of the killings in the first half of the year involved a firearm. Downtown Los Angeles had the highest number of killings, with 13, followed by Watts with 11 and Hyde Park with eight.
The 179 victims of killings were overwhelmingly men — at 160. Nineteen victims were under age 18.
Crosstown noted that the data only reflect crimes that were reported to the LAPD, not how many crimes may have actually occurred.
According to Crosstown, other large cities are also seeing surges in violent crime, with New York City reporting a 10.9% year-over-year increase in killings for the first six months of 2020, with 213 overall. Chicago has reported 336, which is similar to last year’s number but up 33% from 2019.
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