Homicides down in some U.S. cities, up among black youth

Associated Press | 1/7/2009, 3:54 a.m.

Cleveland recorded 102 homicides in 2008, down from a 13-year high of 134 in 2007, but Mayor Franklin Jackson wasn’t celebrating the 24 percent drop.

“We’re very disappointed,” Jackson said. “If one person gets killed, it’s a problem. These are not just statistics. Somebody cared about these people.”

In the nation’s biggest cities, homicides in New York rose 5.2 percent, to 522 from 496 the year before, while slayings in Los Angeles were down — 376 in 2008 compared to 400 the prior year.

Homicides in Los Angeles have plunged 27 percent during the past five years, which police officials attributed to a reduction of gang-related crime.

“We have shown time and again that if you invest in law enforcement and hold police accountable … you will absolutely have a very definitive effect on crime,” said Los Angeles Assistant Police Chief Earl Paysinger.

Also reporting fewer slayings were Houston; Minneapolis; Jacksonville, Fla.; San Jose, Calif.; San Francisco; Oakland, Calif.; and Tulsa, Okla.

Killings were up in Chicago; Columbus, Ohio; Washington, D.C.; Tucson, Ariz.; Kansas City, Mo.; St. Louis; Indianapolis; Seattle; and Charlotte, N.C.

In the 25 cities, there were a combined 4,291 slayings in 2008, an overall 2.7 percent drop from the 4,409 recorded in 2007. Data was not reviewed for another 27 cities classified by the Census Bureau as having a 2007 population of over 350,000, however.

Associated Press Writer Jay Lindsay contributed to this report.

(Associated Press)