Violent Crimes Up in Los Angeles

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Just two months after reporting a drop in crime to 1966 levels, Los Angeles police are now struggling to combat an increase in crime across the city this year, including a sharp spike in the number of people shot, it was reported Wednesday.

Officials said that shootings recorded by police are up 31 percent, amounting to 54 additional victims this year.

Overall, the LAPD reports a 27 percent spike in violent crime and a 12 percent rise in property crime through March 21 compared to the same period last year, according to the Los Angeles Times newspaper.

Los Angeles police Chief Charlie Beck said crime levels are running at roughly the same as 2012 and that the increases are spread out across a variety of neighborhoods.

Police detected the trend this year and have been taking steps to add more officers into troubled areas. The department said it is deploying more officers to areas where there has been a spike in gang-related violence.

There has been a spike in shooting in Highland Park, three in the last three days alone, according to the LAPD.

The first shooting took place early Sunday morning near Figueroa Street and Springdale Avenue. A vehicle outside Luther Burbank Middle School on Figueroa, north of York, was hit by gunfire Monday, and a man was shot in the leg Tuesday night near Figueroa and Avenue 51.

The Eastsider LA website reported Wednesday there have been 9 shootings within or near Highland Park in the last six weeks.

Northeast police are blaming the recent rash of shootings on heightened tensions between The Avenues and the Highland Park Gang.

LAPD Chief Charlie Beck told news outlet Tuesday the department is relying more on crime data to help predict where hot spots might develop and deploy extra resources there.

The one bright spot in the crime statistics are homicides, which are down slightly (2 percent) compared to 2014, even though shootings are up, Beck said.

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