The number of homicides in the Los Angeles County Sheriff's patrol areas fell to its lowest level since 1970 with 166 killings in 2012, Sheriff Lee Baca announced Wednesday. The number of killings was four less than in 2011, a 2.3% drop, says the L.A. Times. But serious crime increased 4.2% and all types of crime jumped 3%. Violent crime -- rape, robbery, aggravated assaults and murder -- climbed 3.5% from 2011. Property crimes across the sheriff's areas jumped 4.3%.
Baca called the homicide total "real historic." He said the decline in homicides makes for a positive picture despite a slight upturn in so-called "Part 1" serious crime. Baca said gangs remain the most serious issue, as was underscored by an AK-47 gun battle between rival gangs Tuesday deputies came upon. Because the Sheriff's Department patrols such a vast territory, there was a great deal of disparity in the numbers.