Crime stats disappear from public view amid LAPD records system overhaul (2024)

It’s hard to say which way crime in Los Angeles is going these days.

The Police Department has stopped posting crime numbers to its public website after rolling out a new recordkeeping system and changing the way it counts burglaries, assaults and other crimes.

Officials say that the changes will more accurately capture the level of public safety citywide, and that efforts are underway to get the statistics back online for the public. But for months there has been no easy way to track crime trends in the city.

Police are still providing up-to-date numbers to city officials upon request, and interim Chief Dominic Choi delivers his crime picture briefing to the Police Commission every week.



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The department used to release weekly crime reports with breakdowns on the number of offenses and arrests for all violent and property crime categories from the prior week and the year-to-date for the entire city. But the familiar multicolored tables have since disappeared from its site.

LAPD officials added a disclaimer to the site’s crime page about the department’s shift to the National Incident-Based Reporting System, which will bring it in line with federal guidelines aimed at gaining more detailed crime data.

“We are hoping to have both the Open Data Portal and crime statistics both and running in the next few months,” Lt. Christopher Chase of the Compstat Division said in an email to The Times. “It is a Herculean task but lots of smart people are working on it!”

In his latest briefing Tuesday, Choi highlighted figures showing that overall violent crime — which includes homicides, robberies, rapes and serious assaults — is basically unchanged from this time last year, while property crime is down roughly 3%.


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Although nonfatal shootings are down citywide, homicides have risen nearly 11% compared with the first half of 2023, Choi told the commission. He said there is no single explanation: “No trend of a gang feud or no trend of a particular race war.” The increased bloodshed bucked a trend seen in many large U.S. cities that have seen slayings decline this year.

Of the LAPD’s four geographical bureaus, South L.A. has had the highest number of homicides this year: 47, 14 more than in the same period in 2023. Worryingly, Choi said, the city has seen a nearly 18% jump in robberies — an additional 585 incidents — over the same period last year, with the Rampart, Southwest and Wilshire areas seeing the biggest increases.


The downtown area has seen the largest increase in commercial burglaries, with 106 more incidents, an increase of about 15% from the first half of last year. Residential burglaries are also up, particularly in the Wilshire and Hollywood areas, while Foothill has seen one of the largest jumps in stolen vehicles, with an additional 153 thefts.

Criminologists and others who study crime have long cautioned about the reliability of statistics reported by police agencies, warning that the numbers are open to manipulation for political purposes and often provide only a narrow view of the ebb and flow of violent crime, which has been trending downward for decades.

In efforts at transparency and uniformity, departments around the country are slowly phasing into the FBI’s National Incident-Based Reporting System, which launched in 1988 and is supposed to collect data on a much wider array of offenses.

The LAPD was among the last big-city agencies to make the leap, said Liberty Vittert, a data sciences professor at Washington University in St. Louis.

The older system could leave some crimes overlooked by recording only the most serious offense that occurred during an incident. In a robbery-homicide, for example, only the killing would be registered. With the FBI system, both acts are counted separately.


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Although most agencies that made the switch to the system reported “growing pains,” Vittert said she found it odd that the LAPD would stop reporting yearly crime statistics. For all their limitations, such reports are still an important resource for the public and elected officials, she said.


“Doing a year-over-year comparison” from the LAPD’s old system to the new one isn’t complicated, Vittert said. “I wouldn’t say it’s apples to oranges. It’s more like red apple to green apple.”

The statistical reporting problems first emerged in early March, when the LAPD unveiled its new records management system, which department officials said would replace several antiquated computer programs. Officers in the Central Bureau were the first to work with the new system.

The change includes going paperless, with officers now able to fill out crime reports and field interview cards on a native iPhone application designed for the department by Motorola, officials said. In the past, officers would have to return to their police station to type up reports — a time-consuming process that kept them from being out in the streets doing police work, said Deputy Chief John McMahon of the Information Technology Bureau.


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McMahon acknowledged that there would be “bumps in the road” as the department adjusts to a new way of doing things, but that ultimately the system would boost efficiency and productivity.

Department officials said they conducted site visits in Philadelphia and New York, which also recently updated their records systems.

But the changes have also been met with skepticism from police critics, one of whom contended at a commission meeting this year that the “aggregation” of disparate data sources has historically been used to justify further over-policing of communities of color.


“We need to kind of ask ourselves, whom does this efficiency serve? What purpose does it serve?” Matyos Kidane of the Stop LAPD Spying Coalition said at a meeting in March.

More to Read

  • LAPD website goes offline; officials give no cause but say it’s ‘not ransomware’

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  • Behind L.A. County’s less-scrutinized cities and suburbs, a disturbing finding on arrests

    Feb. 14, 2024

  • L.A. officials tout double-digit drop in violent crime in 2023

    Jan. 24, 2024

Crime stats disappear from public view amid LAPD records system overhaul (2024)


What is the crime rate in LA, California? ›

Los Angeles

The violent crime rate in Los Angeles is 732 per 100,000 people. There are approximately 258 murders, 2,274 rapes, 9,652 robberies, and 17,216 aggravated assaults per year in Los Angeles.

What are the limitations of official crime statistics? ›

The most troubling limitation of official crime statistics is that they include only those crimes solved by law enforcement agencies. The most serious limitation of official crime statistics is that they include only those crimes reported to law enforcement agencies.

What is the crime rate in London? ›

The overall crime rate in London in 2023 was 105 crimes per 1,000, and the most common crimes were violence and sexual offences, which happened to roughly every 30 out of 1,000 daytime population. Compared with the UK as a whole, London's crime rate is 32% worse than the UK average of 79.52 per 1,000 people.

What is the purpose of the crime survey for England and Wales? ›

Every year, thousands of people take part in the Crime Survey for England and Wales, providing valuable information about their experiences of, and attitudes towards, crime. This important survey is used by the Government to: Measure the amount of crime in England and Wales.

What state has the highest crime rate? ›

These Are the 10 Most Dangerous States in the U.S.
  • New Mexico.
  • Louisiana.
  • Colorado.
  • Arkansas.
  • Washington.
  • Tennessee.
  • Alaska.
  • Oregon.
May 9, 2024

What is the dark figure of crime? ›

The dark figure of crime refers to a term utilized by criminologists and others. The phrase is usually used to refer to the number of crimes that are not reported, but also refers to crimes that are unknown to all outside parties or law enforcement not accepting that the law has been broken.

Which one of the following crimes has no statute of limitations? ›

Crimes That Do Not Have a Statute of Limitations

spousal rape that involves force or violence; murder in the first degree; treason; aggravated sexual assault of a child (up until the victim turns 40);

What is the most commonly cited source of official crime statistics? ›

The Federal Bureau of Investigation's (FBI's) Uniform Crime Reports (UCR) is the largest, most common data on crime currently available. The UCR lists the number of crimes that were reported to the police and the number of arrests made.

Which is safer, Chicago or London? ›

Depends what you mean by 'safe. ' If you're referring to nothing but murders then London is 'safer' with an average of 170–200 murders a year and Chicago is 'less safe' with 500–800 murders a year.

What is the crime rate in Dubai? ›

Major Crime Statistics - Per hundred thousand people
Major Crimes20172021
Human Trafficking0.10.1
7 more rows

What is the crime rate in Moscow, Russia? ›

Crime rates in Moscow, Russia
Level of crime34.49Low
Problem people using or dealing drugs36.38Low
Problem property crimes such as vandalism and theft41.11Moderate
Problem violent crimes such as assault and armed robbery28.52Low
Problem corruption and bribery72.15High
8 more rows

What are the weaknesses of official crime statistics? ›

However, disadvantages of using official statistics include lack of validity due to under-reporting of crimes, and potential manipulation of data to fit agendas.

What percent of crimes are not reported? ›

In its annual survey, BJS asks crime victims whether they reported their crime to police. It found that in 2022, only 41.5% of violent crimes and 31.8% of household property crimes were reported to authorities.

How reliable are official crime statistics? ›

Not all crimes are reported for various reasons, and even when crimes are reported they are not necessarily recorded. Official statistics can be misleading and false, there are many different reasons for this.

Does LA have a higher crime rate than Chicago? ›

Chicago is known for having a high rate of homicides, while Los Angeles experiences more common crimes than violent crimes. Both Chicago and LA face problems regarding crime rate and safety, but the crime rate is lower in the suburbs of the cities.

Is LA a safe city to live? ›

In fact, L.A. is safer than only seven percent of neighborhoods in the U.S., and 91 percent of other communities within California have lower crime rates. Your chances of becoming a victim of either property or violent crime is 1 in 28, with a crime rate of approximately 36 per 1,000 residents.

Which city has the highest crime rate? ›

The article explores the 10 most dangerous cities in the United States for the year 2024 based on data analysis of violent crime rates, including homicide, robbery, and assault. Detroit, Michigan, tops the list with a staggering violent crime rate, followed by cities like Memphis, Tennessee, and Baltimore, Maryland.

What area in LA has the lowest crime? ›

The safest neighborhood in Los Angeles is Bel Air. It's also one of Los Angeles' most recognizable neighborhoods. According to FBI crime statistics released in 2023, Bel Air's overall crime rate is 65% lower than other neighborhoods in the city.


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