Violent crimes are up in LA. What’s driving it, how activists are trying to stem it

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Young activists rally to end gun violence in LA. Homicides in the City of Los Angeles are up 25% from last year, according to LA Police Department Chief Michel Moore. Photo by Hayk_Shalunts/Shutterstock.

A rise in violent crime in the City of Los Angeles, including homicides, is making for an ominous summer forecast. Fernando Rejón, executive director of the Urban Peace Institute, says the past year led to a convergence of many key issues, including a national reckoning with law enforcement and systemic racism. That coupled with the large loss of life, mental health issues, and isolation of the pandemic led to more anxieties, tension, and ultimately, violence. 

Gang intervention workers like Tina Padilla are out in the hardest hit neighborhoods to head off violence before it erupts. “We are out there trying to promote peace … trying to prevent a mother from losing their child,” she says.