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INGLEWOOD : City's Murder Rate Ranked 14th in Annual FBI Survey of Major U.S. Cities

Regional Report

December 08, 1994|ERIC SLATER

There it is, listed among the 25 most murderous cities in the United States and next to places whose reputations for violence are known nationwide.

Inglewood.

The inconspicuous South Bay suburb of 112,000--better known as the home of the Los Angeles Lakers than as a center of crime--had the 14th-highest murder rate in the country in 1993 for cities with populations over 100,000, according to a Federal Bureau of Investigation report released Sunday.

Gary, Ind., ranks first on the list of 25, with 89.9 murders per 100,000 residents. Oakland comes in at 13th, one notch worse than Inglewood. Detroit is fifth. Los Angeles is last on the list, and notoriously dangerous New York City doesn't even appear.

But Inglewood--quiet, middle-class Inglewood--sits smack in the middle with a rate of 39 murders for every 100,000 people.

If the statistics aren't exactly what Inglewood Police Chief Oliver Thompson wanted to hear, neither do they come as any great surprise.

"The fact is that people kill people in this town," Thompson said. "But I live in this city, and I think the city is a very safe place. I don't make too much of statistics, whether they're good or bad."

Indeed, the figures in the FBI's annual report, called Crime in the United States, could be broken down in a variety of ways, and adjusting the parameters slightly can drastically change the outcome.

Nearby Compton, for example, does not make the publicized top 25 list because it has 96,500 residents, just missing the 100,000 population cutoff. Had it been factored in, Compton would be fifth on the list, nearly doubling the Inglewood murder rate, with 64.1 murders per 100,000 residents.

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