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Violent crime up 26% in Los Angeles, LAPD chief says

Violent and property crimes increase citywide, LAPD chief reports

Violent crime is up 26% and property crimes 11% in Los Angeles this year, LAPD Chief Charlie Beck said Tuesday.

Overall, serious crime has climbed 14% in 2015 compared to the same period last year, Beck told the police commission.

He said crime levels this year are comparable to those in 2012. The increases in crime cut across all of the LAPD's four bureaus with the largest jumps in the Central Bureau and the smallest in the Valley Bureau.

"Crime is up in every one of the bureaus," Beck said.

The surge in recorded crime is driven in part by a spike in aggravated assaults. The jump in aggravated assaults began last year and has continued into the first three months of 2015.

Beck has attributed the rise to how LAPD classifies those crimes, an increase in domestic violence and alcohol-fueled street attacks.

The classification change came after a Times investigation last year found the department significantly understated the city's true level of crime when it misclassified nearly 1,200 serious violent crimes as low-level offenses during a recent one-year period.

Assistant Chief Jorge Villegas said the increase is not just in aggravated assaults but also robberies, particularly in the central area of Los Angeles.

Some of the crime, he said, is connected with the skid row and homeless population fighting over territory.

The only silver lining for the department in 2015 is that after seeing a jump in homicides in February, killings are down 2% compared with 2014, according to Beck.

Beck also reported an additional 400 hit-and-runs compared with 2014 but traffic collisions involving pedestrians are down 6%.

Last year was the first year since 2003 that violent crime rose in L.A. Violent crime rose 14% in 2014.

Follow Southern California crime @lacrimes.

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