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Los Angeles County Crime Rates Show Wide Local Variation During Justice Reform Era, 2010-2016

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SAN FRANCISCO – December 5, 2017 – A new research report by CJCJ’s Senior Research Fellow Mike Males investigates crime trends in Los Angeles County during the “justice reform era.” This period, which spans 2010 to 2016, was marked by major changes to California’s justice system, including Public Safety Realignment, Proposition 47, and Proposition 57. 

Critics of these reforms claim rises in crime result from statewide initiatives, but crime trends in Los Angeles County, as well as California as a whole, show a different reality. Crime rates on the county and state level are comprised of divergent local trends. This indicates crime patterns in Los Angeles County, as well as the rest of the state, result from local policies and practices rather than statewide reform.

According to CJCJ's report:

  • From 2010 to 2016, roughly half of LA County’s 89 jurisdictions showed an increase in crime (53%) and half showed a decrease (47%). Most jurisdictions elsewhere in California (259 of 422) showed decreases in their crime rates.
  • The City of Los Angeles, which encompasses over 40 percent of the county’s population and over half its reported crimes, strongly impacts LA County crime rates. While Los Angeles County showed a modest increase in total crime (5%) from 2010 to 2016, this was made up of extreme variation among its 89 jurisdictions.
  • The jurisdictions showing decreased crime from 2010 to 2016 had higher average crime rates at the beginning of the reform period than jurisdictions showing increased crime. This suggests that some jurisdictions, especially those that began with elevated crime, have developed successful policies and practices to improve public safety on a local level.

This report’s findings, along with a recent CJCJ report highlighting property crime variation statewide, indicate that crime patterns remain highly localized. Given the localized nature of crime rates, jurisdictions in Los Angeles County that showed rate reductions through the reform era could serve as county or statewide models for successful local approaches to crime reduction amid justice reform. 

Read the full report >>

For more information about this topic or to schedule an interview, please contact CJCJ Communications at (415) 621-5661 x 121 or cjcjmedia@cjcj.org.

Keywords: Los Angeles, Los Angeles County, Mike Males, press release

Posted in Justice by Geography, Realignment, Technical Assistance

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