the scariest maps: police related shootings and homicides in Los Angeles since January 2007

I usually love interactive maps, but this is messed up.

This is scary.

First, a conversation with my friend Matthew, who is a nice lawyer, led me to this:

http://projects.latimes.com/homicide/circumstance/officer-involved-shooting/

There have been 146 police-related homicides in Los Angeles in the last three years. That is one every 8 to 10 days. If you click on the map the saddest stories appear. It is impossible to shy away though. The stories range from a homeless person shot as he approached a marked car with a cigarette lighter in his hand in broad daylight to a guy who called the cops on himself as armed and dangerous so they would kill him after a breakup.

Rarely is a gun found on the victim (at least not immediately). People are often shot multiple times (I really don’t understand this), often for only reaching towards their waist. I thought cops waited to at least see a weapon before shooting (multiple times), or at least shot to remove threat, not to kill. Is it just impossible to shoot someone non-lethally? What about shooting people in the legs? In the movies they shoot people perfectly in the shoulder. I thought that was what happened…

While looking for the link to make this post, I found another interactive map with the LA Times. It is a map of all homicides in LA:

http://projects.latimes.com/homicide/map/?year=All+years

There are SO MANY deaths. It is insane. And such a random age distribution. Teens, elderly, everybody being killed. There are predictable trends, with known ghettos having the highest numbers of homicides. The neighborhood with the most violent crime in Los Angeles (Chesterfield Square) is only four major blocks from where I used to ride every day. No wonder I sprinted through there, with people getting killed everywhere! 3124 homicides in three years. That is two or three people a day, killed. South LA accounts for one third of those deaths alone; one person a day gets murdered. NWA did not prepare me for this reality.

It turns out that police-related deaths account for 4-5% of all homicides in Los Angeles. So every 21st person killed was killed by a law enforcement officer.

This is all so sad. I love LA, but I think it just broke my heart.

M

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~ by maoctopus on December 18, 2010.

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