Compton’s rise in homicides prompts officials to take action
Compton city officials have announced efforts to combat a recent surge in gang-related homicides.
This year, the city has had 22 slayings, all of which have been classified as gang-related by authorities, according to figures provided by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, which patrols Compton.
Last year, there were 21 killings, 15 of which were classified as gang-related.
Mayor Aja Brown said Compton, a city of about 100,000, is in the midst of a community emergency as violent crime has risen.
“It is our intent to take immediate action,” she said at a news conference Thursday on the steps of City Hall.
The city has deployed five additional two-person patrol cars, and Brown announced a community policing task force composed of community leaders and law enforcement.
Compton has seen its homicide rate decline since 2005, when there were 66 killings. Brown said she hopes the city will not revert to those times and blamed the recent increase in violent crime in part on the state’s effort to relieve prison overcrowding through what is known as realignment, in which people convicted of less serious felonies are sentenced to county jail facilities instead of state prisons.
According to the Sheriff’s Department, the city is also seeing increases in aggravated assault, burglary and theft.
Sheriff Lee Baca, who also spoke at the news conference, said the problems affect quality of life in Compton.
“We want to have a better strategy,” he said.
The most recent homicide in the city occurred Aug. 23, when deputies found John Henry Davis in his driveway with multiple gunshot wounds. There were no witnesses to the shooting, and the case remains under investigation.
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