Violent crime is on the rise in Los Angeles. After a decade of declines, the county is on track to see an uptick in violent crime this year over last. While certain crimes are at historic lows, the overall violent crime rate is up according to official documents used by the Los Angeles Times in their recent report on the subject.
Homicide is one of the crimes that has continued to decline. At this point in the year in 2013, there were 15 more homicides than at this time in 2014. Despite this positive sign, assault and rape have both increased considerably. Domestic violence has also been more widely reported. In fact, better reporting of crimes may indicate that there is not more criminal activity than there was last year; this may simply reveal that more citizens are reporting crimes and better records are being kept.
Anytime there is an increase in crime, obviously the public should be concerned. Understanding why there is an increase in the number of crimes reported, however, is a complex issue. But, once the media reports that crime is on the increase, there may be a backlash. Police and prosecutors may increase their efforts to combat crime. In those efforts, they may become overly zealous to show they are taking the increase in crime seriously. And they should take that increase seriously as long as their commitment to due process and constitutional rights is assured.