Another effect of this demographic shift lies in the under-reporting of crime. Illegal aliens are often reluctant to report crimes to the police, this despite the many accommodations made for them in Los Angeles. In 2010, I attended a meeting where LAPD chief Charlie Beck estimated the number of illegal aliens in the city at 600,000. He recently put the figure at 750,000, or roughly 19 percent of the city’s population. With this in mind, it doesn’t require a great leap of logic to conclude that some significant number of crimes in the city go unreported.
But one crime that seldom goes unreported is murder, and in this category the numbers are easily verifiable. Los Angeles set a record for murders back in 1992, when a staggering 1,092 people came to a violent end on the city’s streets. As of Dec. 15 of this year, the figure was 289, roughly equal to the number of murders recorded in South L.A.’s 77th Street and Southeast Divisions in 1992.
And though the level of violence in South Los Angeles is nowhere near what it was in the ‘80s and 90s, there is some cause for alarm even among the otherwise encouraging news. In 77th Street Division this year, there had been 50 homicides as of Dec. 15, a 79 percent increase from the same period a year ago. When crime in L.A. exploded in the ’80s, the explosion began in South Los Angeles and radiated outward. Whether these numbers in 77th Street Division signal a similarly ominous trend remains to be seen. The total number of homicides for the city is up only slightly this year, but it’s worth noting that 11 of the city’s 21 patrol divisions have seen increases.
Even as the number of homicides has increased in many parts of the city, overall serious crime has declined – or increased only slightly – in most of those 21 patrol divisions. The notable exception has been Hollenbeck Division, on the city’s east side, where Part I (i.e. serious) crime is up 19 percent from a year ago. Residents of that area will not find encouragement in the way the LAPD has chosen to respond to this. Many in the department, myself among them, would attribute the greater part of this increase in crime to the disruptions thrust upon that station’s rank-and-file cops by a commanding officer who, to put it as mildly as I can, is lacking in many fundamental qualities of leadership. Yet, for reasons perhaps explained here, she has continued to advance up the promotional ladder.
And how did the department react when this failure of leadership on the part of the captain was manifested in higher crime? Veteran cops everywhere already know the answer: They left her in place . . . and transferred the lieutenants.
Yes, that should work out just fine.