Los Angeles: On Thursday, July 17, 2003, Chief William Bratton met with the media at his monthly press availability. Chief Bratton discussed current crime trends and advised that the LAPD is down in all, year to date, Part I crime categories except burglary which is up 0.2 %. Bratton also advised that he had revised his crime reduction goals for the year from a 25% reduction in homicides to a 20 % reduction. For overall Part I crimes, the goal was changed to 5% from 10%. The revised goals were made because the Department did not receive funding to hire the 320 additional officers requested in Mayor Hahn’s budget request for fiscal year 2003/2004.
Prior to entertaining questions on a variety of topical issues Chief Bratton introduced the Mayor of Detroit, Kwame M. Kilpatrick, and the Chief of the Detroit Police Department, Jerry Oliver. The Mayor and Chief are in Los Angeles on a fact-gathering mission about the Consent Decree. The Detroit City Council has recently agreed to enter into a consent decree with the U.S. Department of Justice.
Chief Bratton also thanked the media, especially KCAL, for their help in identifying a murder victim. KCAL aired coverage of a news conference where Newton Homicide Detectives released a photo of the unidentified murder victim. That evening, KCAL called LAPD Media Relations Section and advised that a woman had called the TV station and advised that she could identify the victim. Homicide detectives met with the woman and were able to positively identify the victim as 30 year old Clinton Mejia of Los Angeles.
Chief Bratton took several questions on the subject of burglar alarms. The Chief reiterated his position that the Department should not be in the business of responding to unverified burglar alarms. Chief Bratton stated, "Canceling our response to unverified burglar alarms would mean we could put more cops in the parks, beaches and on the streets." However, the Chief advised that he would comply with any political decision that was made regarding the issue.
In response to questions regarding the increase in LAPD response times to radio calls, Chief Bratton said, "The answer is simple, not enough cops." The Chief advised that he believed response times would be improved after his detective reorganization is fully implemented. The Chief surmised that when detectives are working nights and weekends, uniformed street cops will not have to spend as much time at shooting and homicide scenes. Uniformed officers will have more time to patrol the streets and respond to 911 calls, instead of wasting time securing a crime scene waiting for a detective to arrive from home.
For further information regarding Chief Bratton’s press availability, contact Sergeant John Pasquariello, LAPD Media Relations Section, 213-485-3586.