Los Angeles Saw a Huge Crime Increase in 2015. Or Did It?

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You want to talk about cities that have seen an increase in crime? Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Los Angeles:

Violent crime in L.A. climbed 19.9% and property crime increased 10.3% through Dec. 26 compared with the same period last year, according to the police data.

….Parts of South Los Angeles saw troubling increases in violent crime this year….LAPD commanders deployed Metro, a squad with a reputation for hard-charging tactics, to some of those hot spots and also partnered with gang intervention workers. By the fall, the homicide numbers in the area had returned to levels comparable to recent years.

….Since the Metro expansion began in July, citywide violent crime figures dropped 1 percentage point, while the property crime rate did not change.

Now, one thing to keep in mind is that there was a big scandal last year about the way the LAPD was classifying certain crimes, which led to charges that they were cooking the books. That in turn led to reform, which is partly responsible for the big rise in aggravated assault.

It’s also sort of stunning that apparently violent crime was basically flat in the second half of the year. That means violent crime was up about 40 percent from January-June, and then dropped to 0 percent in July-December. This is…a little hard to believe. And no, the deployment of 200 more Metro cops can’t even remotely account for that.

Anyway, I’ll be curious to see what happens next year. Maybe this whole thing is just an artifact of better crime statistics. Hard to say. In any case, the mayor says LA is safer than at any time since the 1950s. I’m not sure how he figures that, but apparently that means there’s nothing to worry about. Go about your business, citizens.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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