At least 115 people have already been killed in the city this year as of May 3, mostly due to an uptick in gun violence, the Los Angeles Daily News reported, citing Los Angeles Police Department statistics.
Last year’s homicide rate was the highest number in more than 10 years, and the city could reach around 340 homicides in 2021, the Daily News reported.
“We can’t discount the trauma from the pandemic young people are experiencing,” L.A. police Chief Michel Moore said, according to the Daily News. “It won’t be a switch. It won’t suddenly turn off.”
He said the city should aggressively offer services to those left struggling.
Much of the violence has reportedly occurred between rival gang members and shootings of homeless people went up with 445 people shot overall so far this year.
Moore mentioned one good sign: Homicides started to taper off last month.
“I take some comfort in seeing the slowing of the pace of this increase in violent crime,” Moore said.
Still, homicides tend to increase during the summer.
Gun sales surged during the pandemic and last year’s civil unrest, according to The Los Angeles Times and L.A. County Sheriff Alex Villanueva told Fox News criminals are emboldened by District Attorney George Gascón’s progressive policies.
Villanueva also criticized the “Defund the Police” movement.
“They need to really pick and choose very carefully because for them it’s very easy to say, ‘Oh yeah, all cops are bad,’ and, ‘Let’s reform and defund the police,'” Villanueva said. “Yet they’re the very first ones to pick up the 911 when someone’s crawling over their back gate trying to get into their house.”
There are concerns in law enforcement that coronavirus stimulus checks were used by some to by guns during the pandemic and Moore has expressed frustration with a potential increase in “ghost” guns, which are put together at home and don’t have serial numbers, the Daily News reported. President Biden has also discussed the problem with “ghost” guns since taking office.