LOS ANGELES -- A record number of cremations was conducted last year by the Los Angeles Coroner's Office, La Opinión reports. The shift is the result of the economic crisis, which has left many families unable to afford the cost of burial for their loved ones. Between Jan.1 and Dec. 30, 2009, the Coroner's Office conducted 724 cremations, up from the 708 in 2008 and 655 in 2007.
"We have more every year," Lt.David Smith told La Opinión. "One of the main reasons is that they [the families] have no money." Families that can’t afford the costs of cremation may apply for the county government to dispose of the remains. The ashes are kept for three years before being buried in a common grave.