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Tuesday, July 23, 2024

Violent crime in Koreatown hits 14-year low, but residents aren’t feeling it

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The number of violent crimes in Los Angeles Koreatown has hit a 14-year low. While the statistical decline is encouraging, residents say they are not yet feeling a significant change.

The Korea Daily analyzed the LAPD’s crime statistics for the first half of the year from January to June. According to the statistics, there were a total of 266 violent crimes in Los Angeles Koreatown in the first half of the year. This is a 58% drop from 2022 (628), which was the worst year for crime in the neighborhood.

This means that the number of violent crimes, such as murder, has dropped to less than one per day. When looking at violent crime by type, assault and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon saw the largest year-over-year decrease from 323 to 143 (-56%), followed by robbery from 211 to 109 (-48%), and rape from 17 to 10 (-41%).

Yellow law enforcement tape isolating crime scene. Blurred view of city street, toned in red and blue police car lights
The number of crimes in Koreatown neighborhood has significantly decreased compared to same time of previous years.

 

The overall number of crimes is also trending downward. In the first half of the year, there were a total of 3,601 crimes committed within the jurisdiction of the LAPD Olympic Station. This is a 39% decrease from the first half of the previous year, which reported 5,915 crimes. This is also the lowest number since 2010, when the LAPD began releasing crime statistics.

Since 2016, the LAPD has recorded more than 5,000 crimes in the first half of every year except for 2020, which recorded 4,865 during the pandemic.

The Olympic Station has always been at the top of the list when it comes to the number of crimes within the LAPD’s 21 police districts. This often led to a perception of Koreatown as a crime-ridden area, leading to negative consequences such as a decline in commercial activity.

However, the fact that the number of crimes this year was the lowest in more than a decade shows that Koreatown could be transformed into a safer neighborhood.

In fact, when looking at the types of crimes that directly affect residents’ quality of living, burglary (-44%), larceny (-31%), auto parts theft (-14%), and motor vehicle theft (-13%) all showed a decrease compared to the same period last year.

The decrease in crime can also be attributed to increased patrols by the Olympic Police Station. “We’re seeing a decrease in crime in a number of categories,” said Olympic Police Station Captain Aaron Ponce, adding that “the station has three overtime patrol teams in place to strengthen public safety.”

The overtime patrol teams include the Business Corridor Overtime, which provides additional patrols in the Koreatown business district; the Violent Crime Overtime, which is deployed to key areas of high violent crime; and the Homeless Overtime, which focuses on homelessness, according to the department.

While the numbers are down, Koreatown residents and business owners remain concerned. Even though the number of crimes reported to the Olympic Police Station in the first half of this year was the lowest in more than a decade, the department’s crime rate ranked 12th out of 21 police districts, indicating that efforts to improve policing are still needed.

“Just the other day, my apartment parking lot had a warning sign because of a recent burglary,” said Joy Kim, 29, a resident of Koreatown. “Honestly, it’s hard to believe that crime is down and public security has gotten better.”

BY SUAH JANG, HOONSIK WOO [jang.suah@koreadaily.com]