Serious crime in the Baldwin Hills-Ladera Heights area rose 4% during the first 10 months of this year, led by a sharp jump in reported murders, robberies and assaults. The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, which patrols the unincorporated area, said 823 serious crimes were reported from January through October, compared with 791 in the same period last year.
Four murders were reported this year, compared with one last year. Robberies jumped from 77 last year to 119, assaults from 91 to 116, arson cases from four to five and burglaries from 165 to 171.
However, reported rapes declined from nine cases last year to four, vehicle thefts from 168 to 151 and larceny cases from 276 to 253.
Sheriff's Capt. Clarence Chapman blamed much of the crime on "a proliferation of gang activity" south of Slauson Avenue.
Chapman said the Sheriff's Department has increased patrols in the area and is negotiating to open a substation in the Ladera shopping center at Centinela Avenue and La Tijera Boulevard.