Crime in the city dropped for the 10th consecutive year in 2012, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and Police Chief Charlie Beck announced Monday, while recent stats indicate that the North Hollywood Division (that includes Studio City) saw one of the biggest drops in violent offenses.
The pair attributed the 1.4 percent reduction in crime from 2011 to continued police hiring despite the city's large budget deficit.
With a 12.4 percent decrease from 2011, North Hollywood ranked seventh in patrolled areas that saw a dip in violent crimes, according to the LAPD. [See the listings in the adjacent photo box.]
Studio City crime dropped significantly as well, and Senior Lead Officer Mike Lewis for Studio City attributed it to the continuing efforts of the local Neighborhood Watch groups.
Studio City has experienced a continued decrease in Property Crime this reporting period; notably Fryman Park experienced an almost record low number of vehicle break-ins. This can be attributed to a united effort by park staff, extra patrol, and educating community members to take care of their valuable personal property.
For December's North Hollywood Division report, click here.
Villaraigosa said he would keep police hiring as a top priority in the city's next budget, his last as mayor. Villaraigosa will be termed out of office and replaced by a new mayor July 1.
"Cities in California that have stopped hiring (officers) or cut back on their police force have seen crime spikes. In L.A., we've seen crime continue its long downward trend," Villaraigosa said. "We continued hiring police officers even as we weathered the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression."
The mayor made expanding the police force a campaign promise when he won election in 2005. That year, sworn police officers numbered 9,284, according to department statistics. Today the force sits at 10,023 officers. Since 2005, the number of violent and property crimes dropped a total 27.2 percent, according to the department.
Villaraigosa said he hoped the next mayor would commit to expanding the police force further.
The number of homicides in the city remained below 300 for the third year in a row in 2012, down from 1,096 murders a year two decades ago.
The overall decrease in crime included a small increase in property crimes, which Beck attributed to a spike in thefts of electronic devices like cell phones and computers.
North Hollywood experienced a 2.6 percent increase in these property crimes in 2012 with 1,655 thefts reported, according to statistics published by the LAPD.
The officials said the drop in crime last year gave Los Angeles the lowest per capita crime rate of any city over 2 million people -- lower than Chicago, Houston, Philadelphia and New York City.
Beck used the morning news conference, the last such announcement Beck and Villaraigosa will make together, to praise the mayor's focus on reducing gang crime. He cited a 47.5 percent reduction in gang crime since Villaraigosa took office and a record-low 152 gang homicides in 2012.
"That is the lowest number of gang homicides in decades. Our level of gang crime, while still unacceptable, still requires much much work, has been changed forever," Beck said. "It wasn't very long ago that we were the homicide capital of the nation and the undisputed, undisputed source of gang misery worldwide. Because of this mayor, we've changed that. Now we're the source of the solution."
Officer Lewis will be making a full Studio City report on Tuesday at the annual Studio City Residents Association meeting at:
Beverly Garland Hotel
4222 Vineland Avenue at 7 p.m.
If you see a crime, contact Officer Lewis at:
Cell Phone (818) 634-2593 and firstname.lastname@example.org