- Associated Press - Monday, January 12, 2015

LOS ANGELES (AP) - Violent crime rose 14.3 percent in the city last year as domestic violence, rape and assault reports surged, officials announced Monday.

The uptick over 2013’s figures marked the first such increase in about a decade.

“This year went in the wrong direction,” Mayor Eric Garcetti said at a news conference.

There were 260 reported homicides, a 3.6-percent increase. The number of aggravated assaults rose by 28.3 percent, rape reports jumped by 20.9 percent and there was a half-percent hike in robberies.

However, violent crime still remained sharply lower compared to 2005, LAPD figures showed.

In addition, the overall crime rate declined 1.6 percent last year compared to 2013, led by a dip in property crimes such as burglaries and auto thefts. It was the 12th consecutive year that the overall crime rate had fallen, Police Chief Charlie Beck said.

He attributed the rise in violent crime to more domestic violence reports, more street fights fueled by alcohol and more accurate LAPD cataloging of crime reports.

The reporting system was changed after a Los Angeles Times investigation last year found that during one recent year, the department had misclassified nearly 1,200 violent crimes as less-serious offenses.

To combat domestic violence, Garcetti announced expansion of the Domestic Abuse Response Team (DART) program from 10 police stations to all 21. The program pairs police officers with trained counselors to handle domestic violence calls and assist victims.

The LAPD also planned to use a $400,000 federal grant to make better use of crime data in the Southeast, Southwest, 77th Street and Newton patrol areas, which have the highest rates of street violence.

The city is safe “but neither of us will ever rest until we are safer,” the mayor said.

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