Patterico's Pontifications

1/23/2009

L.A. Times Features Lower Murder Rate in Compton

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:37 pm



An L.A. Times story reports on last year’s lower murder rate in Compton:

[I]t came as something of a surprise when the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, which contracts to provide police services here, added up the community’s 2008 homicides. The total for Compton, including smaller, adjacent pockets of unincorporated county land: 38.

It was the lowest number in at least 25 years and a 50% drop since 2005. From 1985 to 2000, said Sheriff’s Capt. William M. Ryan, an average of 66 people were slain each year within the city limits; that number fell last year to 28. Gang-related aggravated assaults have fallen too in the city and the county pockets, nearly 25% over four years — “dramatic indicators,” Sheriff Lee Baca said at a recent news conference, “that we are doing the right thing.”

It was fun for me to see that the story features my pal Joe Sumner:

Late on a recent night, Det. Joe Sumner, part of the sheriff’s gang detail, rumbled through the narrow streets in an unmarked cruiser. Sumner’s knowledge of Compton gangs is encyclopedic; put him on any block and he can instantly tell you whose turf you’re on.

This night, though, many blocks were dark and empty; they’ve been that way lately. Amid a concerted law enforcement push, scores of gang members have been imprisoned, and more have given up and moved away — to Riverside, Fresno, Las Vegas.

“There has been so much pressure put on these guys,” Sumner said.

Suddenly he jerked his car toward the sidewalk and bolted from the car. Two young men, documented gangsters, raised their hands, almost instinctively. They knew the drill. They lifted their shirts to show that they were not hiding guns, then spread their legs and put their hands on the warm hood of Sumner’s car while he patted them down. Sumner found no drugs and no weapons.

“Take off,” he said. To the younger man, he added: “Say hi to your dad.”

(I feel like I have to say this, because if I don’t, everyone will scream “illegal search!” — there could be any number of reasons that the search described here could be justified. For example, the gangsters could be on probation with search conditions. I don’t trust the L.A. Times to give you the full picture on that, so don’t go making assumptions, please. I may ask Joe about this next time I see him.)

Joe and I recently had a case where we went to a gang stronghold and took some pictures and developed evidence that took a highly circumstantial case and made it a lot stronger. He’s a very hard worker and always did everything I asked him to.

And yes, Joe really does have an encyclopedic knowledge of gangs in the area — and he’s from the area, so he really knows what he’s talking about. He even knows about my pet interest: the Suge Knight/Mob Piru/Tupac Shakur/Biggie Smalls cases — and has told me interesting stories that have given me insight into that world.

Interesting article; read it all.

24 Responses to “L.A. Times Features Lower Murder Rate in Compton”

  1. Biggie, Biggie, Biggie, Biggie can’t you see, sometimes yo’shit jus’ hypnotize me.

    Obama über alles!!!!! (48dd5e)

  2. In a story about Joe Friday the LA Times reported . . . .

    Ira (28a423)

  3. “dramatic indicators,” Sheriff Lee Baca said at a recent news conference, “that we are doing the right thing.”

    Or indicators that one side or the other has won and the ethnic cleansing is complete.

    Patricia (89cb84)

  4. Compton is still a dangerous place to go or pass through regardless of the present homicide rate. And the ACLU claimed 3 strikes would not work.

    Stan Switek (7cfd24)

  5. Dear Patterico:

    I was born in Compton, and raised in North Long Beach. I remember the early days (pre crack) of the Crips and Bloods.

    Heck, I remember the West Side Longos.

    But it’s a different world in Compton and NLB these days.

    Eric Blair (e92b94)

  6. It’s nice to know that the little town of Compton had only 14 times as many murders as the state of North Dakota last year. Nice work, Compton!

    j curtis (22545c)

  7. all i need to know about Compton i learned during the years i used to repo cars there…..and throughout South Central.

    redc1c4 (9c4f4a)

  8. Patricia surely has a great point!

    Of all the places in the USA, Compton is easily the most monoracial. Nothing but whites there. Racial cleansing: complete.

    Joco (4cdfb7)

  9. #6

    It’s nice to know that the little town of Compton had only 14 times as many murders as the state of North Dakota last year. Nice work, Compton!

    Comment by j curtis — 1/23/2009 @ 10:09 pm

    Not only that, but the state of North Dakota had more murders than an ENTIRE CONTINENT!

    John Hitchcock (fb941d)

  10. Chief, I can name entire planets and even drug induced hypothetical universes with lower murder rates than North Dakota… COMBINED.

    Joco (4cdfb7)

  11. I was under the impression that murder rates are determined per every 1,000 people within a selected area.

    Dmac (eb0dd0)

  12. The Los Angeles Times wrote:

    Amid a concerted law enforcement push, scores of gang members have been imprisoned, and more have given up and moved away.

    Wait a minute! Is the Times suggesting that putting criminals in jail actually works to reduce the crime rate? I am appropriately shocked.

    The incredulous Dana (556f76)

  13. Not only that, but the state of North Dakota had more murders than an ENTIRE CONTINENT!

    Comment by John Hitchcock — 1/23/2009 @ 10:55 pm

    Betcha there weren’t more people living on that continent than live in ND, but ND has several times the population of Compton.

    Anyhow, I think it’s interesting that ND only had two murders all year. I’d like to see national murder rates for different demographic groups. Both as victim and perpetrator. I’d especially like to know which demographic groups murder other demographic groups at much higher rates than vice versa. I think these statistics could be used to create new “hate crime” type laws that protect threatened groups from perpetrator groups.

    j curtis (5feb97)

  14. We don’t need “hate crime” legislation. We need strict laws and a logical enforcement system. If you murder someone, you die. No need for a “hate crime” enhancement or a firearm enhancement. And for those who claim Capital Punishment is not a deterrent, I have one simple question: What is the recidivism rate of those who received Capital Punishment?

    And, j curtis, since you’re so into requesting statistical information concerning so many different red herrings while shelling out statistical information for your own red herrings, why don’t you provide us with longitudinal studies on the correlation between population density and crime rates?

    John Hitchcock (fb941d)

  15. I bet that 70% of those deaths would be among Latinos there. Those guys just can’t stop killing.

    Emperor7 (1b037c)

  16. Actually, I believe the war in Compton is between blacks and Hispanics, and the Hispanics are winning.

    Patricia (89cb84)

  17. Having been a Navy Security Police Officer for a tour at the end of my career, let me add this. A pat-down/search is a good thing. It is called officer safety. And it gives the officer control of the situation. Then things run smoothly.
    The best was the kid who peed in his pants when I was conducting the search.

    Glenn Cassel AMH1(AW) USN RET (a2a763)

  18. That’s good news. When the streets get clean up, so do the schools. Compton High is much cleaner now than when I last taught there in 2004–no graffiti, open campus, no police bus. I don’t know how big of a role Det Sumner had in dropping the crime rate, but cleaning streets equals saving kids. Kudos to him.

    Paul Hsu (646236)

  19. 14

    Why do you consider crime statistics by demographic groups to be “red herrings”?

    Population density might be a red herring though, at least it’s not necessary to determine demographic group crime rate statistics. North Minneapolis has about the same density today as it had back in the 1940s so if the murder rate has changed there, you could look at the demographics of the area during each era.

    j curtis (5feb97)

  20. I expect that number to drop further.

    Emperor7 (1b037c)

  21. From 13 by j curtis. I’d like to see national murder rates for different demographic groups. Both as victim and perpetrator.If I recall correctly an Hispanic victim is listed as a minority but Hispanic perpetrators are considered white for most crime stats.

    Have Blue (974cdf)

  22. Patrick, I suspect that you could claim some credit for a piece of the improvement. Good work.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  23. I read that article and was unsurprised, based on patterico’s past LA Times reporting, that it took well into the article – well below the fold – to find out just what was making Compton “safer” – good police work. Up until that was finally revealed, it was as if “Wow, Compton is suddenly safer; I wonder why that is?” I think if I had been the reporter I would have mentioned the police in paragraph 1, at least 2.

    MikeHu (e9e89c)

  24. …good police work.
    A not inconsequential part of that good work was the disbanding of the Compton Police Dept,
    and the contracting with County for enforcement.
    The PD had been a political tool for a long time.

    AD (f7d033)


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