You wouldn’t know it from obsessive neighborhood chatter on the Nextdoor app, but the overall number of crimes reported in the city of Los Angeles went down 5% in the first six months of 2019. Perceptions of crime, however, depend largely on people’s expectations and experiences — which in turn are greatly influenced by where they live.
An analysis of LAPD data by Crosstown LA (xtown.la), a nonprofit spinoff of the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, found significant fluctuations among parts of coastal Los Angeles when comparing January to June crime stats with the same time frame last year.
While occurrences of crime in Mar Vista dropped more than 9% and Westchester showed no significant change, Playa del Rey was experiencing a bit of a crime wave — posting a year-over-year spike of 24%.
That startling figure is partly a function of Playa del Rey’s relatively small sample size, but the difference of 1,469 reported crimes in the first half of 2018 to 1,828 in the first half of 2019 still represents an increase of 359 crimes over 181 days, roughly two crimes per day.
The most common type of crime reported in Playa del Rey in the first half of 2019 (as in every other Westside neighborhood) was property crime, and according to the Crosstown analysis Playa del Rey saw a lower rate of quality of life crime (such as drug-related and disturbing the peace offences) than Mar Vista or Playa Vista.
Results for some neighborhoods were greatly impacted by the interpretation of their borders, and Crosstown relies on boundaries created by a Los Angeles Times neighborhood mapping project instead of determinations by L.A. City Hall commonly utilized by The Argonaut.
Those boundaries extend Playa Vista to include the southern portion of Del Rey below Ballona Creek and the 90 Freeway (often promoted as Playa Vista) and across the 405 almost to Westfield Culver City.
Also for purposes of the chart below, Del Rey reaches north to Washington Boulevard, west to Lincoln Boulevard, and east beyond Sepulveda Boulevard for a stretch above the creek; Mar Vista lies between Walgrove Avenue and the 405; and Westchester includes LAX.
— Joe Piasecki