After crime rates fell for more than a decade in Los Angeles, Mayor Eric Garcetti and Chief Charlie Beck confirmed Wednesday they are now on a rise with about a 12 percent increase through the first six months of this year.
"This is bad news," Garcetti said during a news conference held at LAPD's headquarters where he and Beck addressed the mid-year crime statistics with a group of reporters.
All categories of violent and property crime, besides homicide, have increased this year when compared to the same time frame last year. It's the first uptick the city has seen since 2003.
"When the mayor and I first saw crime numbers for the first quarter of 2015, it was obvious that dramatic action was necessary," Beck said.
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Both the mayor and police chief focused on "response" and "results" with the announcement of the increase and attributed part of the uptick to homelessness and gang violence.
Also disturbing to both Garcetti and Beck was the increase in domestic violence. "Most domestic violence happens behind closed doors so tactics like increased patrols have little effect," Garcetti said.
However, Beck pointed out that increased patrols did help with cutting gang violence in half from seven years ago despite the increase in gang-related homicides during the first quarter of this year.
Also on the rise were violent crimes by 20.6 percent, gang related crime by 18.3 percent and property crime by 10.9 percent this year when compared to the same period last year, according LAPD data.
"Reducing these numbers is absolutely essential," Garcetti said. Part of that reduction would be in part taken on by 200 new officers at the Metropolitan Division.
With an approved $5.5 million budget for suppression, intervention and prevention programs, they also said the city was ready to combat crime through increased partnerships and community building efforts that would build trust and awareness between officials and residents.
"It's not enough to cut crime," we need to focus on "relationship-based policing," Garcetti said.
Mandatory "preservation of life" training will be required of all officers that would focus on the de-escalation of force and working with the mentally ill. As well, LA would become the largest city in the United States to put body cameras on every patrol officer, with the expectation they would be city-wide by 2016.
Although they agreed immediate results were needed they both also agreed change could not happen overnight.
"It's a big city, it's a big ship, it takes more than a minute to turn it around," Beck said.