LOS ANGELES — Murders and auto thefts from 2019 to 2021 in areas polished by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, Sheriff Alex Villanueva said during a virtual town hall meeting on Wednesday.
Villanueva offered year-end figures for 2021, but said it was too early to draw any conclusions about trends in the first 12 days of 2022.
“Because we’re only two weeks into the first year, statistically it’s going to be all over the map,” the sheriff said.
The department’s data for the year ending December 31, 2021 showed that “a two-year jump – this is comparing 2019 to 2021 – which was a 94.24% increase in homicides, a large number,” said Villanueva. he said. “Grand Theft Auto up 64.88 percent. This is bad news.”
In 2019, the county recorded 145 murders, compared to 199 in 2020, according to the Sheriff’s Department website. While Villanueva did not specify the number of recorded 2021 murders, his count would be around 281 total.
According to the sheriff, aggravated assaults also increased by 14%, although rape and robbery declined by 11.7% and 24.1%, respectively. As a result, violent crimes overall increased by about 1%, he said.
“A lot of this certainly has to do with the pandemic and changing social patterns of behaviour, and who is at home and who is not,” Villanueva said.
The 2019 figures reflect a pre-pandemic world, while 2021 includes a winter increase in cases that prompted a more open public health stance in the summer, along with restrictions on businesses and gatherings.
“We’ve had a massive 19.39% drop in thefts because, everybody has a home,” Villanueva said, pointing to the reduction in burglaries and thefts for the same reason.
Still, there was a slight increase in property crimes, a 4.35% increase over the two years.
“So there was a mix of good news and bad news, and part of the bad news is mainly the murder and violent crime component,” he told listeners during the town hall on Facebook and Instagram Live.
Villanueva said the data would be posted on the LASD website lasd.org/transparency and on social media.
The full-year report includes historically additional material on patrol station, city and individual type of crime as well as demographics and percentage of closed cases.
LASD patrols all unincorporated areas of Los Angeles County and provides law enforcement services under contract to 42 of the 88 cities as well as the subway.