- The Washington Times - Friday, July 22, 2016

The Los Angeles Police Department reports a surging overall crime rate for the second year in a row, despite deploying more resources and making additional arrests.

Law enforcement officials say that violent crime in the city has spiked 15.9 percent through July 16. Records show 586 people have already been shot as part of an overall 6.3 percent rise in crime compared to last year. Reported rapes have dropped 8.7 percent but homicides — 142 — are on par with 2015.

“Last summer was awful,” said Brent Page, the chairman of the Southwest Area Neighborhood Council, the Los Angeles Times reported Friday. “You could ride down Van Ness or Manchester and you would see all the rival gangs tagging the wall near the convenience store. So far this summer, I don’t see as much graffiti.”

LAPD Chief Charlie Beck told police commissioners last week that the uptick in violent crime is “mostly driven by lower-level aggravated assaults and non-armed robberies,” the newspaper reported.

Howard Leslie, a Central Division captain, told the Times that foot patrols in high-crime areas has tripled, which has led to increased arrests.

“I can statistically tell you that you’re safer, but if you don’t feel safer it doesn’t make a difference,” the captain said. “People who see officers walking down the street every day can feel safer.”

LAPD officials note that the city, even with increased overall crime rate, still has a lower violent crime rate than 1969, the Times reported.

• Douglas Ernst can be reached at dernst@washingtontimes.com.

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