According to recent news reports, crime in Los Angeles, California has raised a substantial amount – especially in the city’s downtown area.
With new construction, which has given rise to a bevy of entertainment options and residential dwellings (including luxury lofts and high rises), there has also been an increase in the number of downtowners getting hit with crime. But what does this mean for locals?
Downtown L.A. crime statistics
Police data shows that violent crime in L.A.’s downtown area was up more than 57% by the end of August, when compared with the rates from the same time period last year. In addition, property crimes in the area have also increased by nearly 25%.
Authorities have also noticed certain trends in crime developing. For example, there has been an uncharacteristically high number of burglaries, in which perpetrators target unlocked vehicles and residential units. A higher number of theft crimes have also been reported at local eateries and pubs, specifically purse and smart phone thefts.
What are police doing to help lower crime rates?
L.A. police contend their units are working to reduce the crime rate in the area by increasing the number of officers assigned to the downtown district and by targeting areas that are particularly “hot” for crimes. But is this enough?
Many are questioning whether the measures that police are taking will suffice, especially against a rising tide of burglaries and theft crimes. Several locals have already voiced their opinions, explaining that there still isn’t a significant police presence in downtown L.A. to ward off would-be assailants.
“You just don’t see the presence of the police as you would think you would in a place that is so desperate, so violent, and with so many people at risk, [and where] drugs are used openly,” said Rev. Andy Bales, chief executive of the Union Rescue Mission.
Though authorities claim they are taking steps to reduce crime, LAPD Capt. Don Graham acknowledged that the issues affecting the area (especially the more poverty stricken and crime-prone sectors, like the “skid row” area) may be beyond the help that police can provide.
“The police presence we need to have in that area clearly is insufficient for the crime that is going on there,” stated Graham.
Even though the LAPD has been hard at work to reduce the downtown crime rate, it’s going to take a lot more than police efforts to spark a dramatic change.
Tackling lingering issues
Graham suggests that by focusing on addressing the issue with the area’s homeless population and helping those in need to find housing can play a huge role in reducing the frequency of criminal activity. Given that many of those who have committed crimes in downtown L.A. are those living below the poverty line – people who feel as though they have no other option to survive – Graham believes that concentrating efforts on helping the less fortunate and getting people off the streets can lead to a significant decline in crime.
Downtown isn’t slowing down
While many might think that soaring crime rates might deter locals from venturing to downtown-area establishments, surprisingly, the crime increase has done little to stop residents from enjoying trendy downtown “hot spots” – nor has it slowed developers from pushing forward with plans for further residential dwelling construction.
Though the issue of crime in downtown L.A. seems to be one that requires further attention, it is also one that should not be ignored. Because tensions are already high in the area, police may be on overdrive when it comes to targeting potential suspects and making arrests. As a result, it stands to reason that the number of people who are falsely accused of committing a crime may also increase.
Anyone who is currently residing in the downtown L.A. area who has been suspected of committing an offense can turn to a California criminal defense attorney for help, especially if falsely accused of a crime. Punishment levels for crimes can vary, but when an individual is unjustly convicted of a misdemeanor or felony, even spending one day in jail can be enough to merit a claim.
Criminal defense lawyers are available to assist Los Angeles residents at a moment’s notice, and those who have already been arrested or falsely arrested have the right to seek legal counsel to protect their rights.