For the first time in more than a decade, violent crime in Los Angeles has increased. Los Angeles Times reporters Kate Mather, Richard Winton and Cindy Chang argue in a recent story that Police Chief Charlie Beck's difficult job has become even more challenging as a result of these latest data. They argue that Beck has emphasized community outreach and involvement over the last several years in an effort to build goodwill with the neighborhoods served by the LAPD. Does this recent data indicate that this approach has failed?
Data included in the article are troubling: Violent crime is up 26% and property crime is up 11% compared to a year ago. The number of shootings have also increased 24% so far this year compared to the same point in the calendar last year. In an effort to force these numbers down, the city will call upon the Metropolitan Division. These are specially trained officers who are often members of assault teams and SWAT units. Their mission, law enforcement officials say, will be to maintain the hard-earned relationships the police have developed with community members and reassure them they are nearby. However, history shows that when the Metro gets involved with combating crime, combat is often the appropriate term. Will their tactics work to put an end to the uptick in violent crime? The answer is almost certainly yes. In the short term.