LA Times` Homicide Report is back
January 27, 2010, 03:07 PM
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The LA Times has relaunched their Homicide Report map and database of all homicides in Los Angeles County since 2007, listing by neighborhood the names of all victims and some facts about their deaths, including descriptions of suspects.

One thing I noticed is that gunshot homicides predominate in gang war neighborhoods, such as Compton. In contrast, the tonier the neighborhood, the lower the proportions of gunshots and the higher the proportion of "stabbing" and "blunt force" homicides. At the highest levels of society, "other" is the homicide method a la mode. For example, please check out the homicide log for the Beverly Crest neighborhood (the part of Los Angeles in the Hollywood Hills above Beverly Hills).

The LA Times and Jill Leovy should be congratulated for providing this useful information. From the FAQ:

The website was created in January 2007 by Jill Leovy, a veteran Times’ writer, as a reported blog. Leovy, the author of nearly all the unsigned posts from 2007, launched the report as a way to balance the crime coverage of the Los Angeles Times. As a practical necessity, printed editions of The Times, like those of other metropolitan newspapers, give the most attention to the most unusual, and thus statistically marginal, homicide cases.

It is our goal to give readers a complete picture of who dies in homicides, where, and why — thus conveying both the personal story and the statistical story with greater accuracy and providing a forum for readers to remember victims and discuss violence. ...

The new version of the report, which launched Jan. 26, 2010, merges the blog posts with a searchable database and interactive maps. The maps break down homicides by various categories, including race/ethnicity, age, neighborhood/city, gender, method of death and more. Readers can link to the original Homicide Report to read archived comments and the original posts. In some cases the content has been edited to fit into the new style and format....

Why does the Homicide Report give the race of victims and suspects?The Homicide Report includes information on race or ethnicity of each homicide victim, as well as the name, gender and age and the time, place and manner of death. A number of readers have asked why race is included. Some have criticized the practice.

Racial information was once routinely included in news stories about crimes, but in recent decades, newspapers and other media outlets stopped mentioning suspects' or victims' race or ethnicity because of public criticism. Newspapers came to embrace the idea that such information is irrelevant to the reporting of crimes and may unfairly stigmatize racial groups.

The Homicide Report departs from this rule in the interest of presenting the most complete and accurate demographic picture of who is dying in homicides in Los Angeles County.