If you’re a transplant to Los Angeles, here’s some good news for your parents, who probably spend all night tossing and turning in bed worrying about their precious baby’s safety: crime is actually at a major low here in town! Sure, sometimes you’re forced to wait outside your building for a few hours while Johnny Law investigates a suspicious perp or two, but for the most part, rates of serious crime have actually been dropping steadily for over 40 years.
Some of the numbers are pretty significant ones, too. We’re not just talking about a couple less crimes here and there; between 2012 and 2013, reported rapes dropped from 936 to 639***, and murders dropped from 299 to 251. (Twenty years, ago there were 1,092.) Gang-related crimes are down 50% since 2008, and property crimes are down 16.5% since the year 2008 as well. Part of this decline can most likely be attributed to simply having more officers patrolling neighborhoods and commercial areas than before; as of, 2014, Los Angeles County has roughly 10,000 police officers for its 3.9 million residents. Throw up them “LA Fingers,” though, because Los Angeles currently holds the title for the safest metropolitan city in the United States, with the lowest crime rates of any city with over 2 million residents. That’s pretty maje! (Though maybe R.Zoe should come up with another catch phrase to replace I Die. Like, I Live?)
The optimists in us hope that part of this decline in crime can be chalked up to human beings simply becoming nicer and kinder to one another. Don’t laugh! It’s possible.
In fact, LA isn’t the only city experiencing a surge in the safety of its citizens. Crime rates for a number of the major crimes like homicide, burglary and aggravated assault have been dropping all across the country, with other metropolitan cities like New York and Chicago reporting lower incidents of serious crimes.
Don’t think you can start leaving your doors unlocked while you go for your nightly jog, though. There is one area of crime that saw a significant spike: cell phone thefts are up 30% from last year. (I Phone?) Keep that iPhone 5s clutched tight to your bosoms because those nifty smartphones aren’t losing their appeal. One of the best things that you can do to avoid a run-in with a cell-phone snatcher is to keep it out of sight from potential thieves. Resist the urge to to text and walk at night, especially if you are alone – unless you feel unsafe, in which case whip out your phone and act like you’re talking to someone (better yet, actually call someone). Obviously, don’t leave electronics out in plain view in your parked car, and don’t leave them unattended while you use the restroom or order a latte from, say, your favorite coffee shop. As for those sneaky, despicable people who rifle through purses and bust into cars in order to help themselves to other folks’ cell phones, well, all we can say is that karma is a b*tch. And she has an iPhone 5.
***It’s vital to remember that the majority of forcible rapes do not get reported to the authorities. According to the US Justice Department, only 40 out of every 100 rapes are brought to the attention of police (a crime in and of itself). To learn more about reporting statistics and why so many rapes go unreported every year, please visit the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network.