Gangs Blamed For Rise In Violent Crime Throughout Los Angeles

HYDE PARK (CBSLA.com/AP) — Crime is up across the board in the nation’s second-largest city.

Statistics released Wednesday by the Los Angeles Police Department show that homicides and rapes are each up 9 percent and that robberies are up 13 percent. Violent crime overall increased by 20 percent.

In Hyde Park, crime scene tape cordoned off Florence Avenue where three people were shot.

The LAPD says the victims, who were in their 40s and 50s, were just standing outside when they were hit.

“At this point, it was a drive by shooting,” said Cmdr. Phillip Tingirides of the LAPD South Bureau. “When that happens, we don’t even know if the people that got hit were the intended victims.”

Police were still determining whether the shooting was gang-related, but said all three victims were expected to survive.

“It does concern me because it can happen to me. It could happen to my daughter, you know? And it’s so close to home,” said Martha Hudson, a Hyde Park resident. “I believe the police are doing the best job they can.”

Hours before, Los Angeles police Chief Charlie Beck blamed gang violence for a large number of last year’s homicides.

“Gang crime for the first time in a number of years, in eight years, has increased and increased by 14.6 percent and the solution is communities that work to save their children,” said Beck.

In charts handed out ahead of a news conference to discuss the statistics, the Police Department emphasized the big picture. Viewed in greater historical context, the department says crime levels are still among the lowest Los Angeles has seen in the past 50 years and still far below where they were in the 1990s and early 2000s.

“We have numbers in this past year that just two or three years ago, let alone a decade or two decades ago, we would have been jumping for joy to see,” Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said.

At its highest point, violent crime in the city of Los Angeles was up by 32.7 percent, Garcetti said, but 2015 ended with a 19.9 percent increase — a 15 percent reduction in crime in just six months.

“This is still a great and a safe city,” Beck emphasized.

(TM and © Copyright 2016 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2016 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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