Los Angeles has records that enable the study of the city's and county's homicide rates from the Mexican period onward. This article analyzes the four decades between 1830 and 1870. Although a sparsely populated region and city, the number and rate of homicides demonstrate levels of personal violence usually associated only with mining towns such as those studied by Roger McGrath. No single factor accounts for this violence,but transiency, weak law enforcement, and an elite tolerance for violence are all implicated.

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