Even in the midst of efforts to reduce crime in the city, the crime rate in Los Angeles is up 12.7% compared to prior years. In fact, over the last decade, crime has gone down on a regular basis. This year's data reflects the first increase in crime in more than twelve years. According to a story in the Los Angeles Times "Mayor Eric Garcetti and Police Chief Charlie Beck attributed the increases to several possible factors, including gang violence, rising homelessness and a November ballot measure that downgraded many theft and drug crimes from felonies to misdemeanors." Each of these possible reasons are complex but will leaders take the time to analyze these symptoms and get to the root causes? Or will they simply address the symptoms and leave the underlying problems to fester?
The city has increased the number of patrol officers over the last six months but crime has not been reduced. Burglaries, assaults and violent crimes have all increased over the last several months after years of declines. Perhaps it is time for city, state and federal leaders to realize that more police are not the solution to sustain declines in crime. The root causes of many crimes--drug addiction, poverty and mental illness--are not going to be "enforced" or "punished" out of existence.