Violent crime in Los Angeles decreased in 2023. But officials worry the city is perceived as unsafe

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Violent crime overall in Los Angeles decreased more than 3% in 2023, officials said Wednesday, despite a perception that the nation's second-largest city is unsafe.

Blaring headlines and shocking video footage of smash-and-grab robberies, where dozens of individuals come into a luxury store and begin stealing en masse, has prompted some Californians to fear shopping — despite a 33% downturn in such crimes in LA since the formation of a regional task force in August.

“Our commitment is to address that perception,” LAPD Chief Michel Moore said during a news conference alongside Mayor Karen Bass.

Wednesday's news conference comes as the civilian board of police commissioners vets interim chief candidates to replace Moore, who unexpectedly announced his retirement earlier this month. He will step down at the end of February but remain on as a consultant for an unspecified period.

There was a nearly 17% dip in homicides in 2023, from 392 victims in 2022 to 327 last year, according to data released by the department.

But that milestone meant more people were killed in traffic crashes — 336 — than in homicides in 2023, for the first time in nine years. The department has prioritized traffic safety goals going forward, Moore said.

Data about use-of-force incidents, including police shootings, is scheduled for release by March 1.