Law enforcement agencies throughout Los Angeles have been hard-pressed to explain the rise of violent crimes that the area has experienced over the past five years. However, in 2018, the effort they’ve put in to trying to reverse the trend are beginning to bear fruit. According to recent statistics, Los Angeles saw a total of 253 murders over 2018, a decrease of 9.9 percent since 2017, during which 281 murders took place.
LAPD Chief Michel Moore issued a tweet praising the hard working officers of the LAPD and touting the news as evidence that their crime fighting strategies have been working. He credited the LAPD’s view that personal safety is a “shared responsibility” among the public and law enforcement, and that working together is the only way forward.
One way in which the LAPD has successfully worked with the public to share the responsibility of public safety is through their commitment to community policing. The practice is based upon a partnership between the LAPD and the community. The responsibility of identifying, reducing, eliminating, and preventing problems that erode order and safety within the community is shared by the LAPD and the community itself.
The LAPD believes that if people are able to bring their community’s specific needs to the attention of the LAPD, a plan can be put together by which problems of safety and order can be resolved that increased patrols or police presence may not necessarily solve. Community policing also serves to foster a bond of trust between members of law enforcement and members of the public as it creates greater familiarity between the two parties.
Unfortunately, not all of the LAPD’s crime prevention tactics have been embraced as quickly by the public as community policing was. One major point of contention was the LAPD’s use of the controversial “predictive policing” strategy. The strategy includes technology developed by the CIA that incorporates street-level intelligence with cell phone and license plate tracking of ex-convicts and other things. All of that data is then run through a powerful computer called Palantir to identify specific locations throughout the city where crime is most likely to occur. The LAPD lauds the technology as a way to indicate where best to spend their resources, while some members of the public are dubious about the relative secrecy surrounding the technology.
Much of the blame for the spike in violent crimes that began in 2014 was heaped on the passage of the controversial Proposition 47 which reduced the severity of a host of felonies to misdemeanors, thereby reducing the potency of the punishment’s deterrent. However, a study conducted by UC Irvine found that the spike in crime was not due to the passing of Proposition 47 – a finding which law enforcement and prosecuting attorneys found difficult to accept.