LOS ANGELES (CBS) — Attacks on police officers have increased dramatically, both nationally and locally, and some LAPD officers say they can explain the trend.

Police Chief Charlie Becks announced assaults on LAPD officers have increased by 42 percent from last year.

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KNX 1070’s Pete Demetriou reports on an increase in assaults on LAPD officers.

Officers David Stovill and Jared Vann, both serving in the southwest division, said that the bad economy plays a role, increasing people’s desperation, and that they’re seeing more ex-convicts and non-revocable parolees out on the streets.

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Officer Art Gallegos, a 10-year veteran, says those who lash out at law enforcement are often mentally ill, are drug users or have served prison time.

Gallegos had a confrontation Tuesday with a panhandler who seemed ready to attack the officer.

“I was able to deescalate the situation by just talking to him and saying, ‘I want to know who you are and why you were panhandling by that restaurant over there,’ and letting him know panhandling was not tolerated there.”

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As a result of the increased aggression, Gallegos says there is more talk among law enforcement about tactics, officer safety and warning against complacency. These talks prove all the more necessary with 140,000 supposed “low-risk” inmates set to be released from prison in the next couple of years.