Violent crimes and crimes against property in Los Angeles County increased in the first six months of 1989, according to statistics released by Sheriff Sherman Block.
From January through June, 62,623 major crimes of all types were reported, compared to 53,873 for the same period last year, a 16% increase.
Six categories of crimes showed increases, led by a 29% jump in auto thefts. Two categories showed decreases: forcible rape, down 6%, and arson, down 9%.
Homicides increased 9%, from 128 to 140, robberies 20%, assaults 23%, burglaries 6% and thefts or larcenies 14%.
Gang activity continues to be a problem, Block said, but he noted that gang murders had dropped to 40 this year from 44 during the same period last year. "Although the Sheriff's Department has by no means eliminated the problem of gang murders," he said, "we are encouraged by the fact that there was not an increase."