LAPD maps miss 40% of crimes

The L.A. Times says its comparison of LAPD crime stats to the department's online maps that are supposed to show what's going on in neighborhoods found that 40% of serious crimes are left off the maps. This year's 19,000 reported crimes not shown on the maps include 26 homicides, 137 rapes and 10,766 thefts, says the story: "The lapses mean that the map...presents a drastically incomplete image of city crime." Update: Matt Szabo, press deputy for Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, says on Twitter: "LA Times headline on LAPD crime stats badly misleads. LAPD reports ALL crime stats. Comp glitch caused mapping errors."

Maps are hard: The Times has its own map quirks tonight. The paper's recent mapping project defines West Los Angeles as entirely east of Sepulveda Boulevard. But the West Los Angeles Neighborhood Council places its neighborhood entirely west of Sepulveda — an area the LAT is trying to rename Sawtelle. The Times wants the city's West Los Angeles Civic Center to be in this so-called "Sawtelle" neighborhood, but even the paper's reporters aren't buying it. Two news items on the L.A. Now blog tonight call the area west of Sepulveda as West Los Angeles — in fact, the area described in Power Outage Hits West L.A. almost exactly coincides with the area the Times' wants us to start calling Sawtelle.

Brief history: Sawtelle was the name of an incorporated city centered around the corner of Santa Monica Boulevard and Sawtelle Avenue that was annexed by Los Angeles in 1922. When Sawtelle was swallowed up, it was rechristened West L.A. — and fell entirely west of Sepulveda, the dividing line between old ranchos that guided Westside development early in the 20th century. The current Sawtelle district could be thought to extend some blocks either side of the Sawtelle Avenue shopping street, but the Times should explain how it decided on blowing it up into such a big swath — and moving West L.A. where it has not traditionally belonged.

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