As Crime Rises in Los Angeles, Police, Community Take Action

23 Nov 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

As crime rises in Los Angeles, police, community take action.

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Eduardo Rebolledo had just gotten into his pickup truck after work, eager to head home to his two children when a gang dispute erupted 30 yards behind him on a Los Angeles street. DESTIN — Some Florida condo owners are steaming after their homeowners association asked them to submit their dog’s DNA in order to fine owners who don’t pick up after their pets. The guy’s never even had a parking ticket,” said Detective Dave Peteque with the Los Angeles Police Department. “He’s just a working Joe, a family man trying to support his kids.” In a split second, Rebolledo joined the growing list of victims in the nation’s second-largest city, where murders are up 12 percent this year and shooting victims have increased 20 percent.

A letter sent last week asked residents to register their dogs and cats with the association through a DNA test, citing a significant increase in the amount of animal feces found throughout the property recently, including inside the elevators. “The DNA sample will then be sent off to a lab for testing and recording. This will then allow for the Association to track down the owner of the pet waste and stop the problems,” the letter stated. “I think the consensus is that we are trying to be reasonable, cooperative, but this just rubs the dog owners the wrong way,” one resident told the Northwest Florida Daily News but declined to use his name for fear of retaliation. “It feels invasive, over-reaching, and was enacted by a board who last month tried to outlaw smoking on your own private deck.” “Between the two buildings here at Harbor Landing we have a total of 33 dogs,” said Maintenance Supervisor Mike Russell. “We just can’t catch the people that are not picking up behind their dogs, so the board chose to go with DNA testing.” Joe Sanderson, president of the Harbor Landing association, said the process is actually common among similar groups and, once enacted, often leads to a feces-free environment. After an especially violent weekend in late September, LAPD Chief Charlie Beck expressed his frustration about the bloodshed, particularly among gangs. “This is not Dodge City,” Beck said, referring to 19 shootings in one weekend, 13 of which were gang-related. The increases come as redevelopment of the city’s downtown and nearby neighborhoods has attracted trendy new bars and restaurants, thousands of new residents and megaprojects that include a $1 billion mixed-use hotel tower that will be the tallest in the West.

In response to the rising numbers, the LAPD has deployed hundreds of elite officers to crime hot spots, increased the number of officers walking the streets versus patrolling in cars, and created a community relationship division dedicated to building the public’s trust in police officers. Rebolledo’s death, for instance, inspired a “peace movement” in the neighborhood where he was killed, said Michelle Miranda, founder of Alliance for Community Empowerment, a nonprofit that provides services to disadvantaged young people, including gang intervention. More than 250 people took to the streets wearing white shirts, carrying signs that included: “We protest our right to live in peace.” At Good News Baptist Church in South Los Angeles, the Rev. Winford Bell began a program through his nonprofit group to train members of the community how to counsel family and friends of people who’ve been murdered. The idea for the so-called “life comforters” is to provide a safe outlet to vent anger and sorrow, and wherever possible, attempt to prevent retaliatory violence common among gangs. “Don’t get me wrong, hardcore gang members are not going to hear me.

Them we can’t do nothing with,” Bell said. “The other ones who aren’t so hard, who aren’t dedicated to being gang members … If they come, we can do a lot of work.” Los Angeles is among a number of major cities across the U.S. seeing rises in violent crime this year, including Baltimore, Washington, D.C., Chicago, Cleveland and Houston. Jeff Bert, commanding officer of the department’s strategic planning group. “But we are in the business of driving down crime so when a crime spike goes up, we’re all over it. It is a concern.” It’s still too early to pinpoint what’s driving the increased violence across the country and in Los Angeles, said Charis Kubrin, a criminologist at the University of California at Irvine who analyzes crime in Southern California.

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