police detective at crime scene with police tape

If L.A. Crime Is Down, Why Is Fear Rising?

Jorja Leap, adjunct professor of social welfare, spoke to the Los Angeles Times about perceptions that L.A. crime is on the rise despite statistics showing that the city is getting safer. Data alone don’t shape perceptions of safety, Leap said, noting that a person’s environment and biases are crucial factors. “When they show the films of Nordstrom being broken into … there is a sort of ‘Oh my god, that’s not supposed to happen here,’ “ Leap said. “Whereas if there’s a smash-and-grab at the Food4Less in Pacoima, then there’s the sense of, ‘Well, it’s a high-crime area.’ ” The sensationalization of high-profile, if statistically rare, crimes such as flash-mob robberies can help stoke fear, as can ominous campaign messaging about public safety during an election season, she said.


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