LOS ANGELES - Last month was Los Angeles' deadliest April due to a rise homicides, the most reported in the last four years.
36 homicides were reported in April 2022, compared to 21 from 2021 and 24 in 2020, Los Angeles Police Department Chief Michel Moore said Tuesday.
"This is at least a four-year high," Moore told the Los Angeles Police Commission.
The increase in April contributed to a 2022 year-to-date rise in homicides, from 116 last year to 122 this year, Moore said.
More than 20% of the city's homicide victims have been homeless, Moore said.
The police chief said the driving factor in the increase in violence is "a spasm of violence" within LAPD's 77th Division area, where 11 homicides occurred in April, compared to one in 2021 and five in 2020. The 77th Division includes Athens Park, Chesterfield Square, Gramercy Park, Hyde Park, South Park- 51st and Menlo, Vermont Knolls, Vermont Park, View Heights, Morningside Park and West Park Terrace.
Moore spoke to the commission on April 19 about an increase in gun violence in the 77th Division area. He said Tuesday that "some of those did result in homicides and some did not."
Shooting violence in Los Angeles increased by 33% in April, with an additional 32 victims in April 2022 compared to April 2021, Moore said. The city has experienced an increase of three shooting victims so far in 2022 compared to this point in 2021.
"Significantly, it's a 61% increase and an additional 49 shooting victims in the month of April compared to 2020," he added.
The police chief said that along with 77th Division, gun violence has increased in the Hollenbeck and Newton areas. Hollenbeck includes the neighborhoods of Aliso Village, Boyle Heights, El Sereno, Estrada Court, Hermon, Hillside Village, Lincoln Heights, Montecito Heights, Monterey Hills, Pico Gardens, Ramona Gardens, Rose Hills Courts, University Hills. Newton includes the Fashion District, Pueblo Del Rio and South Park-Entertainment area.
Moore said that along with gang violence, the shooting increase has been driven by robberies.
The LAPD has deployed outreach and engagement teams as part of the Gang Reduction Youth Development program.
"I am encouraged that they are making contact with a number of individuals that represent various street gangs in efforts to dispel rumors and myths, as well as to dispel tensions resulting many times from social media posts and other low-level nonsense, if you will, that spurs violence and spurs people who resort to this type of violence," Moore said.
He noted that "violence is not uniform around the entire city," saying there are "pockets of violence."