According to a recent report, school-related crimes in Los Angeles have been on the rise since the COVID-19 pandemic. The Korea Daily compiled data on crimes occurring at and around preschools, K-12 public and private schools, and campuses in Los Angeles since 2020, using crime statistics from the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD).
The findings reveal a steady increase in school-related crimes, with 1,393 cases reported in 2020, 1,450 in 2021, and 2,277 in 2022, marking a 63% increase over three years. From January 1 to June 20, 2023, a staggering 1,142 incidents have already been reported, surpassing 1,000 cases in just six months. This equates to an average of six to seven crimes per day in schools across L.A.
Within the Olympic Community Police Station, which includes Koreatown, there have been 47 school-related crimes reported this year. The jurisdiction of the Olympic Community Police Station covers nearly 30 preschools, K-12 public and private schools.
Among the 47 crimes, felony vandalism tops the list with eight cases, followed by simple assault (six), burglary/theft (five), misdemeanor vandalism (four), trespassing (three), and arson (two).
In terms of specific schools, middle schools (junior high schools) have had the highest number of reported crimes, with 14 incidents. This is followed by 12 cases at elementary schools, seven at private schools and preschools, four at trade schools, and three at specialty schools.
Notably, the Olympic station, along with the Van Nuys station, ranks highest among all LAPD divisions in terms of private school and preschool crime rates.
Expressing her concerns, Julie Cho, the principal of Beverly Christian School, a preschool in Koreatown, stated, “Lately, we’ve been experiencing incidents like a homeless man attempting to gain entry. I feel there is more insecurity than before.” To enhance security, Cho mentioned the measures they have taken, including the installation of 16 indoor and 8 outdoor surveillance cameras, the hiring of a separate male teacher for enhanced supervision, and the implementation of locks and visitor alarms on school doors.
In May 2023, an alarming incident occurred at LA High School, which has a significant number of Korean American students, where ten armed young men assaulted two students. Additionally, in the same month, two 16-year-old Hispanic boys were wounded in a shooting near the prestigious private Loyola High School, located south of Koreatown.
BY SUAH JANG [firstname.lastname@example.org]