Overall crime in Los Angeles fell for a 10th straight year in 2012, but small increases in petty thefts and homicide numbers again provoked the perennial question of how much longer the city's remarkable crime drop would continue, says the city's Times. Overall, crime declined by about 2 percent in Los Angeles, fueled by drops in many serious crimes including robbery, assault and auto thefts, according to preliminary numbers collected by the LAPD. The decline was smaller than in previous years because of jumps in lower-level crimes such as thefts from vehicles and personal thefts.
There were no obvious explanations for the increase in thefts. Some crime experts said the statistics suggested the years of economic hardship facing many Angelenos may have finally had an impact on crime. LAPD Chief Charlie Beck agreed but also pointed to the state's controversial prison depopulation plan as a possible factor. The 297 killings that occurred through Thursday morning were three more than occurred during the same period last year, and made it unlikely the city would finish the year below 300 homicides — a benchmark reached in 2010 and 2011. The figures also underscored the stark geographic disparities of where crime occurs in Los Angeles. In the wealthy Westside neighborhoods, there were 276 violent crimes, while the neighborhoods of South L.A. experienced about five times that number.