LA Murder Rate Plummets

Homicides at lowest rate since 1970
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 24, 2007 6:44 AM CST
Los Angeles, UNITED STATES: Gang related graffiti is painted on a fence in South Central Los Angeles, California 28 November 2006. The murder rate in Los Angeles has fallen to its lowest rate since 1970,...   (Getty Images)
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(Newser) – The murder rate in Los Angeles has sunk to its lowest in nearly 40 years, the Los Angeles Times reports. There have been 368 killings in the City of Angels this year, down from over 1,000 in 1992. The last time the murder rate was so low was 1970, when LA had 1 million fewer people, guns were less prevalent on the streets, and gangs were a smaller presence.

Experts credit the plunge to better policing, use of gang intervention workers to help prevent retaliatory gunfire, and gentrification of previously high-crime neighborhoods. Angelenos who remember the bad old days of the crack epidemic and rampant gang warfare say that while the city still doesn't feel safe, they're proud of the improvement. "It's not just a number; it means a whole lot," said one woman who's lived in Watts since the fifties.