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Crime rate continues downtrend in Los Angeles
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Crime in Los Angeles fell in 2008 for the sixth consecutive year despite the economic crisis, it was reported on Thursday.

The fall challenges the widely-held theory that crime rises at times of economic tumult, the Los Angeles Times said.

Violent crimes, such as homicides and rapes, and crimes involving thefts in Los Angeles were down about 2.5 percent compared with 2007, said the paper, quoting data from the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD).

In all, the declines amounted to about 8,500 fewer serious crimes committed in 2008, according to the paper.

The drop contradicts predictions by some law enforcement officials that the ailing economy would probably result in crime increases, particularly in struggling neighborhoods where unemployment was on the rise, said the paper.

Unemployment in the Los Angeles area is now near 9 percent.

"The drop in violence is due, in part, to the LAPD's success in reducing gang-related crimes," the paper added.

Gang killings are down more than a quarter from the previous year, and the number of assaults by suspected gang members is down significantly as well, according to the paper.

(Xinhua News Agency January 2, 2009)

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