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Number of LA killings falls in 2022 but is high compared to pre-COVID

The number of Los Angeles homicides fell in 2022, but it was still far higher than before the COVID-19 pandemic set in, according to Los Angeles Police Department figures.

LAPD’s preliminary count through New Year’s Eve shows there were 382 homicides in the city last year. That was down 5% from the 402 killings in 2021, which was the highest recorded number of killings in Los Angeles since at least 2010, according to police records.

But last year’s total was still almost 50% more than the number of killings in L.A. in 2019, when it stood at 258.

Last year’s homicides included headline-grabbing havoc: In May, police say, a West Hills mother killed three of her children in their home with the aid of a 16-year-old. In September, gunfire broke out during a baseball game and car show at a San Pedro park, killing two men and leaving five injured; four men were later arrested.

Such stories belied the actual picture of crime in the city, where the pace of overall violence slowed in multiple categories. Last year, besides homicides, nearly every other type of violent crime fell.

Reported sexual assaults and rapes fell by more than 10%.

Aggravated assaults, which jumped up in 2021, receded last year: There were nearly 20,000 such crimes reported in the city in 2022, which was a few dozen less than the year before.

One of the few violent-crime categories that was up in L.A. in 2022 was robberies, which largely have not slowed since the beginning of the pandemic. Chief Michel Moore and other LAPD leaders have warned business owners and residents about increases in gun-wielding robbers targeting convenience stores and other shops across the city.

Even with the recent rise in killings, Los Angeles remains far less deadly today than it was in decades past: In the 1980s and early 1990s, gang wars in L.A. greatly contributed to the city’s yearly homicide numbers regularly surging past 1,000.

With the city increasingly reopening as the pandemic has faded, the amount of property crimes did return to levels last seen before COVID-19 upended daily life, too, increasing by more than 10%. There were more than 101,000 property crimes recorded in L.A. last year, following dips of as low as 87,000, in 2020.

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Chief Moore recently said that police were attempting to crack down on thieves as well as follow-home robbers believed to be targeting shoppers.

“We do have pressure” from thefts, Moore told the Police Commission. “We are seeing an increase in the numbers from last year.”

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