Traffic Fatalities Surpass Murders in Los Angeles in 2023
In 2023, the LAPD reported a higher number of traffic fatalities compared to homicides. Chief Michel Moore stated on Tuesday that many of these accidents were caused by drivers who were either speeding or distracted.
“In 2023, there was a significant rise in traffic fatalities compared to previous years, with a particular increase in fatal hit and runs as well as fatal pedestrian and bicycle collisions,” he reported. According to the latest data, the City witnessed a total of 330 traffic fatalities and 327 recorded murders by December 30, 2023.
In recent tragic incidents, a family consisting of a mother, father, and their 5-year-old daughter lost their lives on New Year’s eve. They were reportedly struck by a driver who was allegedly fleeing the scene of another crash. Another unfortunate incident occurred on December 8, when 26-year-old Luis Espinoza was fatally hit by an LAPD officer driving at high speed in South LA. An officer has been placed on administrative leave and may face a criminal charge, according to the Department’s announcement this week. Final year-end data was not yet available this week.
According to Moore, the City has seen a notable decrease of 3.2% in violent crime. Additionally, there has been a decrease in the number of murders involving individuals who are homeless.
“There have been noticeable improvements in the cleanliness of the streets and the safety of the communities. Crime rates involving homeless individuals have decreased significantly, with a double-digit reduction. Additionally, there have been 36 fewer homicide victims,” he stated.
According to a recent report by the I-Team, individuals experiencing homelessness accounted for almost 25% of the total number of murders in the City in 2022. In 2023, LAPD officers discharged their firearms in a total of 34 incidents, which is an increase of 3 compared to the previous year. In 2023, the number of individuals shot by officers and fatally injured increased to 16, compared to the previous year’s count of 14.
In the first months of 2024, Moore announced that certain officers would be equipped with an upgraded Taser stun gun. This new model boasts an increased range, aiming to enhance its effectiveness when officers find themselves facing individuals armed with knives or clubs.
According to the speaker, there has been a 3.5% rise in overall property crime, with a significant 16% surge in retail theft. Additionally, there has been an uptick in the number of stolen cars.
This week, the LAPD currently has 8,969 officers on its payroll, which falls significantly short of Mayor Karen Bass’ target of 9,300. Chief Moore expressed concerns about the Department’s ongoing challenges in recruiting and hiring qualified candidates.
“Our current effort to hire 60 sworn personnel every 4 weeks is not meeting expectations,” he stated. He further mentioned that the upcoming graduation of the latest academy class on Friday will only produce 22 officers, falling short by approximately 50%.”