Facing a troubling spike in gun violence, the Los Angeles Police Department has returned tactical officers to crime suppression and vehicle stops in South L.A. and other neighborhoods after critics called the tactics racially biased and department leaders determined two years ago that they were ineffective.
The move, which The Times confirmed this week, speaks to a growing desperation among police and others to curb the dramatic spike in homicides and shootings that began with the pandemic in 2020 but has continued unabated in the first weeks of 2021.
Through the end of January, homicides were up 40% compared to the same time last year, and up 111% compared to 2019, with much of the violence occurring in South and Central L.A., according to police data. The city saw its 50th homicide of the year this week, compared to 31 during the same period last year. Shootings were up more than 160%.
The move immediately raised concerns among some longtime police observers at a time of increased scrutiny over LAPD tactics in communities of color.
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