South LA represents 65% of the city's shooting victims, according to police dataBy CBSLA Staff

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – Over the course of the first two months of 2021, police say the number of reported shootings and people wounding by gunfire has soared dramatically in Los Angeles, according to a new report.

A survey Crosstown, a nonprofit news organization based out of the USC Annenberg School of
Communication and Journalism, found Los Angeles Police Department officers fielded 570 reports of shots fired, up 88% from the 303 incidents during the same time frame in 2020.

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Another 267 people were struck by gunfire, marking a 141% increase from the 111 people wounded in the same period in 2020.

Homicides in Los Angeles are also up: 64 people had been killed in the city through Feb. 27, up 39% from the 46 homicides at the same time last year, according to Crosstown.

The sharp rise in violence is causing concern among community members and police, especially in
the South Bureau.

According to a report delivered to the Police Commission by LAPD Deputy Chief Regina Scott, commanding officer of LAPD Operations- South Bureau, the bureau had recorded a 165% increase in shots fired and a 358% spike in victims shot while walking down the street or sitting in cars or homes through Feb. 13.

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“If you compare South L.A. to the rest of the city, we represent 65% of the city’s shooting victims,” Scott said at the Feb. 23 meeting. “In just six weeks, we’ve had 110 victims shot compared with just 24 last year. These are numbers we haven’t seen since the late nineties or early 2000s.”

Community leaders like Andres Ruiz, an attorney and public safety chair for the Boyle Heights Neighborhood Council, say they need help to address everything from the need for food assistance, housing insecurity and violence.

In his area of Boyle Heights, there was a 46% rise in shots fired, 19 up from 13 in 2020.

Ruiz said he sees the increase in crime as a cry for help.

“We are living in an era where people don’t know how they are going to pay their bills, facing eviction and hunger, and individuals resort to survival tactics,” Ruiz said, stressing he was speaking for himself, and not the council.

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“We need to understand what is going on in neighborhoods to understand how to help heal the community so these issues aren’t happening,” Ruiz said.