Crime in Los Angeles
|Crime rates (2012)|
|Total Violent crime:||481.1|
|Motor vehicle theft:||391.3|
|Total Property crime:||2,269.1|
* Number of reported crimes per 100,000 population.
|Source: Uniform Crime Reporting Statistics 2012|
|Crime rates (2012 to date (% change from 2010))|
* Number of reported crimes per 100,000 population.
Year to date 2012 as of 06/30/12
|Source: LAPD online citywide profile|
Crime in the city of Los Angeles has been a major problem in Southern California and a concern for Angelenos since the early 20th century.
In 2012, Los Angeles reported 298 homicides - which corresponds to a rate of 7.8 (per 100,000 population) - a notable decrease from 1980, when the all time homicide rate of 34.2 (per 100,000 population) was reported for the year.
The city is patrolled by the Los Angeles Police Department.
The riots began on August 11, 1965, in Watts, when Lee Minikus, a California Highway Patrol motorcycle officer, pulled Marquette Frye over. Minikus believed Frye was intoxicated because of observing his driving which Minikus believed to be erratic. While police questioned Marquette Frye and his brother Ronald Frye, a group of people began to gather. The mob began to throw rocks and other objects and shout at the police officers. A struggle ensued shortly after Frye's mother, Rena, arrived on the scene, resulting in the arrest of all three family members.
As a result of the riots, 34 people were officially reported killed (28 of those were African American), 1,032 people were injured, and 4,000 people were arrested. Among the dead were a fireman, an L.A. County deputy sheriff and a Long Beach police officer. The injured included 773 civilians, 90 Los Angeles police officers, 136 firefighters, 10 national guardsmen, and 23 persons from other governmental agencies. 118 of those injured were injured by firearms.
Six-hundred buildings were damaged or destroyed, and an estimated $35 million in damage was caused. Most of the physical damage was confined to businesses that were said to have caused resentment in the neighbourhood due to perceived unfairness. Homes were not attacked, although some caught fire due to proximity to other fires.
The crack epidemic (1984-1990)
Crack cocaine first began to be used on a massive scale in Los Angeles in 1984. Between February and July 1984 cocaine abuse and related violence had exploded to unprecedented levels in the city, and by 1985, crack was available in most of the major American cities. South Central, where the crack cocaine problem was the worst in the country, became the site of many police raids. Previously unknown gangs were growing and new were emerging. The rap music genre, TV shows and movies portrayed that part of Los Angeles as a no-go zone and a highly violent area.
The 1992 Los Angeles Riots, also known as the Rodney King uprising or the Rodney King riots, were sparked on April 29, 1992 when a jury acquitted four police officers accused in the videotaped violent and brutal beating of black motorist Rodney King when he allegedly resisted arrest following a high-speed car chase. Thousands in the Los Angeles area joined in a race riot involving acts of law-breaking, including looting, assault, arson and murder, seeing in King an example of injustice against minorities in the United States. The situation became too difficult to be handled by local police, and the California National Guard as well as the U.S. Marine Corps were called in. About 5 National Guardsmen were injured during the riots. Overall, 53 people died during the riots.
North Hollywood shootout
The North Hollywood shootout was an armed confrontation between two heavily armed and armored bank robbers, Larry Eugene Phillips, Jr. and Emil Matasareanu, and patrol and SWAT officers of the Los Angeles Police Department in North Hollywood, California on February 28, 1997. It occurred when responding patrol officers engaged Phillips and Matasareanu leaving the robbed bank. Seventeen officers and civilians were wounded before both robbers were killed. Phillips and Matasareanu had previously robbed several banks prior to their attempt in North Hollywood and were notorious for their heavy armament, which included automatic assault rifles.
Community Resources Against Street Hoodlums, usually known as C.R.A.S.H., was a special unit of the Los Angeles Police Department established in the early 1970s to combat the rising problem of gangs in Los Angeles, California. Each of the 18 divisions had a C.R.A.S.H. unit whose primary goal was to suppress the influx of gang-related crimes in Los Angeles that came about primarily due to the increase in narcotics trade. C.R.A.S.H was also used in the popular game Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas as an antagonist organization.
The Rampart scandal refers to widespread corruption in the Community Resources Against Street Hoodlums (C.R.A.S.H.) anti-gang unit of the LAPD Rampart Division in the late 1990s. More than 70 police officers in the CRASH unit were implicated in misconduct, making it one of the most widespread cases of documented police misconduct in United States history. The convicted offenses include unprovoked shootings, unprovoked beatings, planting of evidence, framing of suspects, stealing and dealing narcotics, bank robbery, perjury, and covering up evidence of these activities.
The Los Angeles May Day mêlée
on May 1, 2007, at MacArthur Park, a rally formed to raise awareness of prejudice against, and demands for amnesty for undocumented workers. As the rally continued, police attempted to break up the rally. Most rally participants dispersed peacefully, but some attacked the police with bottles and rocks. The police utilized less-than-lethal weapons in ways that many viewed as excessive.
South Central L.A.
South Los Angeles, more widely known as South Central Los Angeles is a notoriously dangerous region of the City of Los Angeles which has an extensive history of gang violence starting in the 1920s with white gangs being replaced by black and Hispanic gangs. Crime has steadily dropped in South Los Angeles since the late '90s. However gang activity has not declined.
South Central had become a byword for urban decay, its bad reputation spread by movies such as Colors, South Central, Menace II Society, Poetic Justice, Tales from the Hood, Friday, and in particular, South Central native John Singleton's Boyz n the Hood. Even more recent films such as Baby Boy, Training Day, Harsh Times, Dirty, Gridiron Gang, Waist Deep, Belly 2: Millionaire Boyz Club, Street Kings and End of Watch, including drama series such as Southland, Law & Order: LA and The Closer continue the poor image. The rap group N.W.A.'s album Straight Outta Compton and the video games Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas and Grand Theft Auto V also popularized South Central's bad image.
Crips and Bloods feud
After the FBI cracked down on black political organizations in the late 1960s, a social vacuum formed among black adolescents living in South Central Los Angeles. Into this vacuum came two new gangs: the Crips and the Bloods. Conflict between the two rival gangs arose immediately. In the next 40 years, fighting between the two gangs took 5 times as many lives as the long running sectarian conflict in Northern Ireland. The continuing cause of the feud is best expressed as a "kill or be killed" culture described by T. Rodgers, co-founder of the Bloods, as "You better respect me. You better fear me." Speaking in a 2007 film documentary, a former Crip, named Pete, who survived to his middle years, said,
- These wars go farther back than most of these kids been around. A lot of 'em [are] not sure about why the war was goin' on. They [simply] STARTED DOIN' WHAT WAS BEIN' DONE. 
The problem began with poverty and segregation, but has worsened with drugs, family separation and parental incarceration. The key to improving things, according to mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, is education.
A 2003 comparison of twin psychological studies by the Lancet and Rand corporations indicates that the average child in South Los Angeles is exhibiting greater levels of post-traumatic stress disorder than children of a similar age in Baghdad, the war-torn capital of Iraq.
- Uniform Crime Reports and Index of Crime in Los Angeles in the State of California enforced by Los Angeles from 1985 to 2005
- "DEA History Book, 1876 - 1990 (drug usage & enforcement), US Department of Justice, 1991, USDoJ.gov webpage: DoJ-DEA-History-1985-1990.
- The CIA, Contras, Gangs, and Crack
- PBS Independent Lens Documentary "Crips and Bloods" Made in America, Produced by Baron Davis, Directed by Stacy Peralta and Written by Stacy Peralta and Sam George
- Interview with Tavis Smiley, aired on PBS on May 18, 2009
- Marlene Wong, PhD, Sheryl Kataoka, MSHS, Lisa Jaycox, PhD, University of California Los Angeles Center for Research in Managed Care, Cognitive Behavior Intervention for Trauma in Schools, (CBITS) 
- Stein, B., Jaycox, L., Kataoka, S., Wong, M., Tu, W., Elliot, M., & Fink, A. (2003). A mental health intervention for schoolchildren exposed to violence: A randomized control trial. The Journal of American Medical Association, 290, 603-611.