As Los Angeles prepares to expand its police force with a spending boost and plans to hire hundreds more officers, new data show that crime in the city has dropped moderately in 2023. Through May 20, L.A. reported a drop of more than 10% in violent crime this year compared with the same period in 2022. Property crime fell by slightly more than 1%, and arrests were up 4.4%,reports the Los Angeles Times. Violent and property crimes both spiked in the first five months of 2022; the decline in violent crime brings the total for 2023 close to its 2021 level, but property crime remains significantly higher than it was two years ago.
The police department posted more positive numbers: Hate crimes dropped nearly 6%, homicides declined more than 27%, and the number of shooting victims decreased 17%. Fatal traffic crashes were up almost 7%.
Larceny arrests nearly doubled from 2022 to 2023, while arrests for homicide and motor vehicle theft declined by 19% and 27% respectively. San Francisco — despite a wave of criticism after the killing of Cash App founder Bob Lee — reported an overall crime drop of nearly 7 percent in the first five months of the year. San Jose reported a drop of about 8% in violent and property crimes in the first three months of 2023. In Los Angeles, Mayor Karen Bass’ budget outlines plans to hire 1,000 officers beginning in July, which represents a net expansion of about 400, because 600 current officers are expected to resign or retire. Some critics wonder whether the department needs to expand. City data show a total of 9,059 sworn officers.