Los Angeles police will send more than 100 elite Metropolitan Division officers into South L.A. as part of its effort to quell a surge in homicides, the LAPD said Thursday, reports the Los Angeles Times.

After remaining relatively flat for much of the year, the number of people killed in Los Angeles rose in August, marking a 7% increase compared with this time last year. Across the city, 185 people have been killed from the beginning of the year through Saturday.

Nearly half of August’s 39 killings occurred in South L.A., where officials said the Los Angeles Police Department would focus additional resources and double down on community outreach efforts. Police Chief Charlie Beck attributed the majority of the violence to gang crime, which he said was up about 15% this year.

In addition to the Metro officers, gang officers also are hitting the streets, according to an LAPD spokesman. The idea, Capt. Jeff Bert said, is that having more officers on the ground will help them respond to crimes more quickly and potentially prevent retaliatory attacks.

To help speed up the police response, the LAPD has set up a new command post in its South Bureau that analyzes crime data throughout the area in real time, Bert said. The LAPD also is increasing community outreach with the help of gang intervention workers, local clergy members and other residents.

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