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Los Angeles crime down 8 percent

LOS ANGELES, Dec. 27 (UPI) -- The Los Angeles Police Department said crime has decreased for the fifth consecutive year, running counter to rising crime rates in Southern California.

Overall crime in 2006 dropped 8 percent from 2005, with significant decreases recorded in reported burglaries, car thefts, rapes and assaults, The Los Angeles Times said Wednesday.

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The city's homicides dropped 4 percent from 487 in 2005 to 464 as of Dec. 23.

However, robberies in the city rose 6 percent.

"You can't be lucky seven times in a row. If I was, I'd be making a living hanging out at the blackjack table," said Police Chief William Bratton.

"Bratton has focused on gangs, guns, and drugs," University of Chicago law professor Bernard Harcourt, who co-wrote a paper last year that was seen as critical of Bratton's record as chief in New York, told the Times. "And I think we are seeing that it has paid off. Larger national trends affecting major U.S. cities are obviously contributing to the declines, but Bratton's focus ... has proven successful."

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