Maturing Safe Parks Program Continues to Blossom
Los Angeles: The Los Angeles Police Department’s (LAPD) Safe Parks Program was created several years ago to better provide members of the community with a safe and secure family atmosphere at their neighborhood parks.
Since September 1997, both the LAPD and the Department of Recreation and Parks (DRP) have placed an increased emphasis on park safety by dramatically increasing the amount of training, communication, and exchange of information. Beginning in 1998, Park Rangers, LAPD's Senior Lead, patrol and vice officers have exchanged information which has become instrumental in the reduction of criminal activity, in City parks, over the years.
In addition to working with each other, the LAPD and the DRP have used a variety of methods to involve the public in reducing the level of criminal activity at City parks. These innovative methods include:
Convening community meetings to keep communication open between police, park rangers, community members and elected officials;
Working closely with citizen volunteers to identify and report crime;
Fencing off perimeters to secure park area grounds;
Creating and coordinating task forces to address serious and nuisance criminal activity such as illegal parking and illegal vending and aggressive begging;
Deploying Bicycle and Footbeat Details to patrol parks; and,
Targeting specific sporting events, carnivals and other higher crime risk events.
In October 2000, the DRP also established the Clean and Safe Spaces (CLASS) Parks Program. The mission of the CLASS Parks Program is to increase safety in the neighborhoods by encouraging everyday family and community-member use of the parks. Thirty-seven parks, many of which are currently Safe Parks, have been identified as CLASS parks to receive significant facility repairs such as painting, new plants, new fencing, new equipment, new lighting, etc. Additionally, after school youth programs will be increased at each park and twenty youth teen clubs will be established.
Los Angeles Chief of Police Bernard C. Parks has directed his personnel to be actively involved with the DRP in helping to make the CLASS Parks Program a success. The Department will continue to work closely with the DRP in order to achieve the goal of cleaning and refurbishing all the 37 by June 2001.
This press release was prepared by Public Information Officer Guillermo Campos, Media Relations Section, 213-485-3586.
For further information, please see the 2001 Safe Park Program Report below:
The Department’s Safe Parks Program has been in operation for the past several years and utilizes personnel and resources directed at keeping the parks in the City of Los Angeles safe. The purpose of this program is to provide members of the community with a safe and secure family atmosphere at their neighborhood parks. The specific goals of the program are:
Provide a safe environment at neighborhood park facilities in order that members of the community can participate in park activities without fear.
Create an atmosphere that encourages full community utilization of their neighborhood park facilities.
Provide an opportunity for officers to meet with members of the community and discuss their concerns.
Create and maintain liaison with personnel from the Department of Recreation and Parks (DRP) to exchange information on crime and other related issues and to provide training for DRP personnel as appropriate.
On November 3, 1997, Chief Parks appeared before the City Council’s Public Safety Committee to discuss the Department’s Safe Parks Program. During that meeting,
Chief Parks personally assured the committee members that crime in the City’s parks would be emphasized during Focus, Accountability, Strategy, Teamwork, Response and Coordination (FASTRAC) meetings with each Area commanding officer. Area commanding officers became tasked with tracking crime for parks located in their respective Areas and developing strategies to address crime problems. Additionally, it was emphasized that Area commanding officers utilize nontraditional methods in addressing park safety, e.g., collaborative approaches with DRP.
MEASURE OF EFFECTIVENESS
The measure of effectiveness currently being used for the Safe Parks Program is to compare the current crime statistics (Violent and Part I crimes in parks) to the previous year. This clearly shows if the Safe Parks Program is impacting crime in the parks.
For the period covering July 1, 2000, through December 31, 2000, the following significant activities have occurred to address the issue of park safety.
In order to discuss crime problems in the parks and to keep the channels of communication open, the following are meetings held during the Third and Fourth Quarters 2000 between the Department and DRP Park Rangers:
Several meetings between Harbor Area personnel and park directors to discuss safety issues in parks located in Harbor Area.
Weekly meetings between Hollenbeck Area personnel and Park Rangers at the Hollenbeck Area Crime Control Meetings held each Wednesday.
A meeting between Hollenbeck Area personnel, Park Rangers, representatives from Councilman Hernandez’ office, Assemblyman Villagriosos’ office, park directors, and community members to discuss park-related issues.
Regular meetings between Rampart Area personnel, Park Rangers, and park directors to discuss crime issues within Rampart Area parks.
Regular meetings between Southwest Area personnel, Park rangers, and park directors to discuss park-related activity.
Regular meetings between Operations-Valley Bureau (OVB) personnel and the Park Rangers, Valley Region, to discuss current crime problems in parks within OVB.
These meetings provided an opportunity for personnel from both the Department and DRP to exchange information and focus on methods to promote park safety. These meetings will continue throughout 2001.
Collaborative Enforcement Efforts
The following events are listed as examples to demonstrate the close working relationship that exists between Department and Park Ranger personnel in responding to enforcement-related and community events within the parks.
July 4, 2000
Department personnel work closely with Park Rangers to coordinate enforcement-related activities at Hansen Dam Park for the Fourth of July celebration.
July 5, 2000
Department personnel and Park Rangers respond to Valley Plaza Park regarding a man causing a disturbance. The man was intoxicated and running in and out of traffic. Department personnel and Park Rangers safely took the man into custody and prevent harm to him and others.
July 6, 2000
Department personnel and Park Rangers respond to Sepulveda Park regarding an assault with a deadly weapon call. The investigation resulted in a suspect being arrested for attempting to stab the victim with a large knife.
August 2, 2000
Department personnel and Park Rangers respond to Lincoln Heights Park regarding a robbery investigation. A search of the park was conducted but no suspects were found.
August 14-19, 2000
Department personnel and Park Rangers work closely together at Pershing Square during the Democratic National Convention.
August 19, 2000
Department personnel and Park Rangers respond to Valley Plaza Park regarding a fight at a soccer game. The investigation resulted in calm being restored and no one taken into custody.
September 3, 2000
Department personnel and Park Rangers respond to El Sereno Park regarding a possible burglary. An investigation was conducted but no burglary had occurred.
October 27, 2000
Department personnel and Park Rangers respond to Wabash Recreation Center regarding gang activity. Several youths were counseled and released and one suspect was taken into custody for a parole violation.
October 27-28, 2000
Department personnel and Park Rangers work closely together to provide security at South Park during a two-day carnival at the park. The event took place without incident.
November 4, 2000
Department personnel and Park Rangers work together with Councilmember Walters’ office during a neighborhood clean up at Ross Snyder Park.
CLASS Parks Program
In October 2000, the DRP established the Clean and Safe Spaces (CLASS) Parks Program. The CLASS Parks Program is a component of Mayor Richard Riordan’s "Operation Healthy Neighborhoods" Program. The mission of the CLASS Parks Program is to increase safety in the neighborhoods by encouraging everyday family and community member use of the parks. Thirty-seven parks, many of which are currently Safe Parks, have been identified as CLASS parks to receive significant facility repairs such as painting, new plants, new fencing, new equipment, new lighting, etc. Additionally, after school youth programs will be increased at each park and twenty youth teen clubs will be established.
Chief Parks has directed the Department to be actively involved with the DRP in helping to make the CLASS Parks Program a success. To achieve this goal, Department personnel have been working closely with the Park Rangers in identifying ways to improve the 37 CLASS parks. This effort includes walking through each CLASS park with the Park Rangers and recommending security improvements such as repairing fencing, trimming bushes to remove hiding places, installing new lighting, closing vacant buildings, etc.
Since October 2000, Department personnel have attended numerous CLASS Parks Program meetings and assisted Park Rangers in identifying and recommending security improvements at CLASS Parks. The Department will continue to work closely with the DRP in order to achieve the goal of cleaning and refurbishing all the 37 by June 2001.
As of December 2000, Park Rangers had received training by Department personnel in police communications, bicycle patrol, report writing, vice enforcement, narcotics enforcement, Field Training Officer School, vehicle impound training, juvenile arrests and citation training, juvenile procedures, baton training, and arrest and control procedures. In the months ahead, Park Rangers will be receiving training at the Department’s Watch Commander School, Civil Liabilities School, Street Gangs School, and Traffic Report
School. Additionally, Park Rangers receive Department produced training tapes to ensure consistent procedures and information sharing. Finally, authorization has been received to allow the Department to provide training to Park Rangers on how to use the Department’s Consolidated Criminal History Reporting System and Local Area Network System. This will assist Park Rangers utilizing Area stations when they prepare reports or make an arrest. Consolidated Criminal History Reporting System and Local Area Network System training commenced on August 30, 1999.
Cooperation between the Department and the Department of Recreation and Parks
Beginning in 1998, Park Rangers began attending geographic Area crime meetings on a regular basis. Information concerning park safety is shared by Senior Lead Officers and officers from patrol and vice assignments. The exchange of information has been instrumental in the reduction of park crimes over the years. Additionally, each geographic Area has designated a Park Coordinator who meets regularly with Park Rangers in order to address park safety issues.
Statistical data regarding crimes in parks has been collected from each geographic Area for the Third and Fourth Quarters, 2000, (See Attachments 1 and 2). This information is a summary of crimes occurring in the City’s "Safe Parks" during the Third and Fourth Quarters, 2000, and compares those figures to the same quarterly periods in 1999.
Violent crimes in parks: