Los Angeles: 86% of murder victims and 92% of the suspects were either black or Latino in 2006
Interracial gang-related attacks in Los Angeles were up in 2006, despite a citywide reduction in crime for the fifth consecutive year, city officials announced Tuesday.
In response, the Los Angeles Police Department, along with city, state and federal officials, are developing a strategy aimed at curbing gang violence, particularly among the city's black and Latino youths.
"Our New Year's resolution in 2007 is to make violent street gangs public enemy No. 1," Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said during a news conference at the LAPD's Central Division police station.
"We can make Los Angeles the safest big city in America, but to do so requires us to attack violent street gangs with a direct and comprehensive strategy," he said. "I strongly believe that all residents in all parts of Los Angeles should benefit from the historic lows in violent crime."
Of the 478 homicides reported in 2006, about 56 percent were gang-related, according to police Chief William Bratton.
Eighty-six percent of the city's murder victims and 92 percent of the suspects were either black or Latino -- a disproportionately high number, considering the city's population is 11 percent black and 48 percent Latino, Bratton said.
Most of the gang-related killings were reported in the eastern San Fernando Valley, the city's Eastside, south Los Angeles and the Harbor-Gateway area.
The most disturbing statistic revealed an uptick in interracial violence among blacks and Latinos.
"We will not tolerate that kind of hate crime in this city," Villaraigosa said. "The idea that anybody would be shot or killed because of their race or ethnicity is unacceptable in this, the most diverse city anywhere in America."
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