To relieve the increased workload of South Gate police investigators, the City Council has asked that the Los Angeles County sheriff's homicide bureau investigate some city homicides.
The action follows a request by South Gate Police Chief Norman Phillips, who heads a department of 91 sworn officers, including 12 investigators. Phillips said the request was necessary because of an increased caseload due to an overall increase in the crime rate.
There has not been a tremendous jump in homicides in the city--six this year compared to four last year--but increases in other crimes influenced the decision to seek help, Phillips said.
South Gate detectives are responsible for all crime investigations and do not specialize in homicides.
"There have been increases in child abuse cases, domestic violence and auto thefts," Phillips said.
There was a 67% increase in assaults, a 53% increase in rape cases, and a 14% increase in auto theft cases, according to police figures submitted to the council.