A total of 395 homicides were committed in Los Angeles last year, making it the deadliest year since 2007, according to data released by a nonprofit news organization Monday.
In terms of geography, downtown Los Angeles had the most homicides for the fifth year in a row, with 29 killings in that community. Watts recorded 23 homicides, while Boyle Heights, Florence and Green Meadows reported 14 homicides each during 2021.
According to Crosstown at USC, a nonprofit news organization based at the USC Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism, the unusually high death toll was fueled by the last four months of the year, during which 122 people were killed.
There were only two other quarters in the last decade when the homicide rate exceeded 100, both of which occurred after the COVID-19 pandemic began, according to Crosstown.
The bloodiest month of the year was July, with 48 homicides, the highest total seen since at least 2010, according to Crosstown’s preliminary analysis.
The news agency pointed out that all totals are subject to revision depending on changes in the data provided by the Los Angeles Police Department. The totals reflect crimes reported to the LAPD.
The number of homicides committed in 2021 represents a 12.5% increase over 2020 and a 53.1% jump in killings relative to the pre-pandemic year of 2019.
The report noted that LAPD Chief Michel Moore has pointed to a rise in gun violence as the reason for the increase. Reports of shots fired in 2021 were up more than 58% over 2019 levels and the number of gun-related arrests was up 300% over the same time period, according to Crosstown.
A firearm was the weapon used in nearly three-quarters of the homicides.
The vast majority of the victims, 86%, were men and they were disproportionately Black, according to Crosstown.
More than 35% of those killed were Black, roughly 52% were Hispanic and about 7% were white, according to LAPD data. Black, Hispanic or Latino, and white residents make up roughly 9%, 49% and 52% of the city’s residents, respectively, based on U.S. census estimates for 2021.