There were thousands fewer crimes reported in 2011 than 2010 in areas the LAPD and Sheriff's Department patrol. The trend puzzles some but reinforces a common police view that other factors are at play.
Even since the economy began stalling several years ago, there have been dire warnings that crime would rise.
But in Southern California, crime continues its long decline despite the weak economy. Indeed, 2011 brought new worries about a "double dip recession," yet streets in many parts of the region were the safest they've been in decades.
The trend continues to puzzle some criminologists but has reinforced the view of many in law enforcement that factors other than the economy determine the rise or fall of crime.
Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck said crime rates are determined largely by how well police do their job and the "informal social standards" set by communities — that is, what kind of behavior people are willing to tolerate from others.