LOS ANGELES (CNS) - Los Angeles Police Chief Michel Moore said today that the city is on pace to see more than 300 homicides this year – which would be the first time since 2009 -- and shootings are up significantly compared to last year.
Moore told the Los Angeles Police Commission that the city has seen 266 homicides this year, a rise of almost 24% compared to last year and more than 30% compared to 2018.
“This is apparently a much higher presence of people carrying guns and bringing guns into disputes,'' Moore said. “Gun thefts from vehicles are up 45% from the same period last year. So we see a phenomena of more guns, more people carrying guns and then disputes escalating to gun violence.''
Moore said it is critical that the Los Angeles Police Department continues to engage in community outreach programs, even in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, to try to speak with residents and dissuade gun violence.
The chief said the shootings have taken place mostly in Central and South Los Angeles districts, but there have also been incidents throughout the city.
Moore's report showed overall shooting victims were up this year compared to last, rising to 978 from 790. Of those victims this year, 462 were identified as Black and 423 were identified as Latinx, he said.
“These numbers are startling (for) our efforts to ... counter this violence,'' Moore said. “I think we also need more (social media) engagement and more efforts in the street to quell the disagreements that apparently are escalating.''
Moore also said the unrest the city saw over the summer has continued in some capacities, although he said the percentage of protests that have not turned violent is much higher.
But he also said the LAPD will acquire shields to keep officers protected for unruly activity during protests, such as having bottles, rocks or projectiles launched at them, and the chief said he hopes discussions on the shields will take place at the commission meeting next week.
“We are incorporating a hurry-up offense, if you will, to require this because as we see the national election approaching quickly, it is our concern about that continued levels of protests and activities that may turn violent,'' Moore said. “I think it's a responsible act for us to add added safety items (and) added safety equipment for personnel.''
The latest major confrontation between police and large crowds in Los Angeles took place Oct. 11, when downtown was hit with a wave of destruction during an impromptu mass celebration of the Lakers' 17th NBA championship, a gathering that resulted in 76 arrests and injuries to eight police officers.
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