LA Gang Killings Down 27% Since '06

Crackdown on 11 most dangerous groups by wide range of agencies credited
By Lucas Laursen,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 11, 2008 7:18 PM CST
Ismael Davalos, left, a Florence 13 gang member, gets checked by Los Angeles County Sheriff gang detective Adam Torres in the Florence- Firestone neighborhood where the Florence 13 gang is located in...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Los Angeles gang killings dropped 27% from the 2006 high of nearly 300, reports the Los Angeles Times. The city reported 216 gang-related killings in 2007, which still accounted for more than half of all homicides in Los Angeles. Authorities credited the reduction to a program that used police, federal agents, probation officers and prosecutors to target the 11 most dangerous gangs. Manpower was concentrated in eight "gang reduction zones."

LA Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa was quick to take credit for the drop, boasting that he and his police chief "pledged to stop the bleeding—and we did." Experts warned, however, that gang activity rises and falls in cycles and that a short-term decline doesn’t solve the underlying problems. "We have to break the norm of gang culture in hot zones. The ranks keep refilling," said one expert. "You can't arrest your way out of this problem."