Still Gritty: Crime Wave in Downtown Los Angeles

As people and jobs stream into the district, downtown's long-simmering problems butt up against vigorous urban renewal. Crime is up, but so are property values.

1 minute read

September 23, 2015, 10:00 AM PDT

By Philip Rojc @PhilipRojc

LA Crime Scene

jondoeforty1 / Flickr

Gentrification seems inevitable in modern downtowns, but Los Angeles is holding on to some of its legendary grit. "Here, the forces of rapid gentrification are crashing up against the chronic poverty, homelessness and crime that have long been a part of life in the city center. [...] Overall, violent crime in the Los Angeles Police Department's Central Division [...] was up more than 57% through the end of August compared with the same period last year, and property offenses increased nearly 25%."

The core of the problem lies with one of the city's perennial failings: how to house its homeless. "LAPD Capt. Don Graham acknowledged the struggles on skid row, which are occurring despite the addition of more officers over the years. 'The police presence … in that area clearly is insufficient for the crime that is going on there,' Graham said." Graham also acknowledged the need to help skid row residents locate housing and treatment to reduce the pool of victims.

Downtown remains one of the city's hottest neighborhoods despite the crime. But as one realtor noted, "'[Crime is] going to be a deterrent to people who maybe don't have the urban backbone to endure coming into a city downtown that's not yet done and pretty and pristine.'"

Wednesday, September 2, 2015 in Los Angeles Times

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