YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

Los Angeles

Bid to Cut Killings by 20% Will Fail, Bratton Admits

September 03, 2004|Richard Winton | Times Staff Writer

Los Angeles Police Chief William J. Bratton conceded Thursday that his ambitious goal of reducing killings by 20% this year cannot be met.

With homicides up 5.3% over last year's total through the end of August, Bratton said the goal he set earlier this year cannot be reached. "It is quite clear we aren't going to get a 20% drop in the homicide rate."

Last year, Bratton's first in office, homicides dropped 22%. He noted in a news conference that the trend over two years is an 18% drop.

Bratton said homicides in 2004 are up by 16 over the same time last year, to 357 slayings. He called the first such upswing since he took command of the LAPD in 2002 "an anomaly."

"Overall, our violent crime is trending down in a very significant way," Bratton said, noting a 15.1% decline compared to last year, and smaller drops in every other category of crime.

During 2003, the chief said, the 23% reduction in overall homicides was achieved predominantly in South Los Angeles, where he was able to place 150 extra officers.

Councilman Bernard C. Parks, a former police chief, said Thursday that homicides in his district have jumped significantly this year, and called on the LAPD to address the issue.

Bratton turned the statistics into a promotion for the proposed half-cent sales tax for law enforcement, on the ballot in Los Angeles County in November, which would provide enough funding to hire 1,500 new officers.

The homicide rate in New York City as of Aug. 15 was down 7.8%, with 29 fewer slayings than last year. Chicago is experiencing a larger drop, reaching 25.6% through July 1.

Los Angeles Times Articles