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L.A. has gone eight days with no homicides, police data show

October 17, 2013|By Nicole Santa Cruz
  • Police tape marks the area where two people were killed in a shooting this summer in South Los Angeles.
Police tape marks the area where two people were killed in a shooting this… (Liz O. Baylen / Los Angeles…)

In a city that averages about one slaying a day, Los Angeles hasn't seen a homicide in eight days, continuing a decline in crime for the year, according to figures from the L.A. Police Department.

The most recent homicide in the city occurred Oct. 8 and was the 217th this year. Homicides are down 9% from the same period in 2012, a drop of 21 killings.

Det. Kelle Baitx, who has investigated homicides with LAPD's Newton Division for more than two decades, said he was surprised to hear that the city hadn't seen a homicide for an eight-day stretch.

Homicide Report: Tracking killings in L.A. County

“It’s slow here,” he said. “It’s slow everywhere now.”

He said last year, the division saw a record low of 16 homicides, a stark difference from the 1990s, when he said the division would handle more than 100 killings a year. 

"That was just the nature of the beast," he said. "And now, obviously over the last 10 years, things have slowed down."

In the southern portion of Los Angeles, which includes the Southeast, Southwest and 77th Street patrol areas, the homicide count is up by nine from the 89 killings reported at the same time last year, Det. Sal LaBarbera said. The division handles about 40% of the city's homicides.

“Now, we get these little upticks,” he said. “Even though they’re up, everything is still so far down.”

Although lower homicide numbers have almost become a norm, talk of a homicide-free stretch is almost taboo because of some detectives' superstitious natures, LaBarbera said.

“Yes, it’s been some time, but we try not to talk about it,” he said.


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Twitter: @nicolesantacruz

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