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News Scan

40-Year Low in Los Angeles Homicide Rate:  With a total of 297 homicides in 2010, Los Angeles is reporting its lowest homicide rate since 1967, writes Emily Henry of The South Los Angeles Report.  The total is five percent less than the number in 2009, 22 percent less than in 2008, and 75 percent less than in 1992 when the total peaked at 1,092.  All is not rosy, however;  the holiday season this year saw four killings on Christmas Eve and five on Christmas Day.

Homeless Camp Raids Illegal, Says Alaska Judge:  An Alaska trial judge yesterday struck down a city ordinance allowing authorities to clear out illegal homeless camps and toss remaining property after five days' notice.  Judge Mark Rindner determined the ordinance to be facially unconstitutional, finding the five-day notice inadequate, especially in light of hardships faced by the homeless.  Lisa Demer of the Anchorage Daily News has this story.

Border Crime on the Rise?:  KPHO (AZ) reports on today's release by officials in Pinal County, Arizona, disputing Janet Napolitano's statements that border crime is down.  The Pinal County Sheriff's Office says that since 2007, the poundage of marijuana seized has gone up 65 percent and the number of calls to Border Patrol for assistance has more than doubled.  The release also identifies several officer shootings, violent kidnappings, and instances of rescued aliens abandoned in the desert by their "coyotes."

12-Year-Old Murder Gets 30 Year Sentence:  WANE (IN) reports 12-year-old Paul Gingerich was sentenced yesterday to 25 years in prison plus five years of probation for his part in the 2010 shooting death of a friend's stepfather, Philip Danner.  Police allege Gingerich, Colt Lundy (Danner's stepson) and another boy planned the killing for weeks, snuck into Danner's home, shot him in the wrist, eye, and chest, and then attempted to flee to Arizona.  Lundy pleaded guilty in September to conspiracy to commit murder and was sentenced to 30 years.

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