Los Angeles law enforcement reported sharp increases in murders and robberies as a bevy of crimes continues to hit the area.
The county has seen a 94 percent increase in homicides in 2021, compared to 2019, according to Los Angeles Sheriff Alex Villanueva.
The pandemic-related crime increases are not unique to LA County, but the dramatic jump in homicides was, Villanueva said on Facebook Live last week.
“I think throughout the entire United States, that’s probably going to be one of the biggest jumps ever, just from a historical perspective,” Villanueva said.
Thieves are also stealing more vehicles, he said.
Auto theft was up 59 percent from the previous two years.
“Obviously, [the numbers] definitely going in the wrong direction,” Villanueva said.
Los Angeles Police Department Chief Michel Moore told police commissioners Jan. 25 that the number of homicides and shooting victims has decreased in January, compared to last year.
“While the numbers are still stabilizing, I can report that in the first three weeks we have seen somewhat of a slowing down of the number of shots fired, number of shooting victims, and the number of homicides compared to the same period last year,” Moore said.
So far this year, 26 people have been killed in the city, which was seven fewer than at this point in 2021.
The more notable murders this year include the stabbing death of University of California–Los Angeles graduate student Brianna Kupfer, who police suspect was killed while she worked alone at an upscale furniture store in the Hancock Park neighborhood by a homeless man.
Shawn Laval Smith, 31, was charged Jan. 21 in connection to Kupfer’s death with one count of murder and a special allegation that he used a deadly and dangerous weapon.
The city was also rocked by the death of Los Angeles Police Officer Fernando Arroyos, 27, on Jan. 10 who was shot to death during a robbery while he was looking at houses with his girlfriend in South LA.
Deputies have arrested four suspects who face federal charges in connection to Arroyos’ death.
Moore told police commissioners the department was focusing on violent crime and encouraging the public to take preventative measures to avoid becoming a victim.