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Los Angeles – – On Wednesday, November 14, 2001 at 6:30 p.m., Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) Chief of Police Bernard C. Parks, along with other members of the LAPD, hosted the second Community Forum Summit. The summit was held at the Japanese American Museum, located at 369 East First Street. Also present at the summit were community leaders and representatives of the Gay/Lesbian, African-American, Hispanic, Youth and Religious Forums and the Asian Pacific Islander Advisory Council.
Among the topics of discussion, was a discussion on the major issues affecting quality of life issues in the City of Los Angeles. The three major issues identified were:
The homeless population;
The return of the convict population to society; and
The youth population growth.
With regard to the homeless population, there are three underlying areas of concern. They are the mentally ill, the drug addicts and the unemployable. According to the Institute for the Study of Homelessness and Poverty, at the national level, approximately 45 percent of the homeless adult population have mental problems. Here in the City of Los Angeles, it is estimated that 33 to 50 percent of the homeless population are mentally ill. Chief of Police Bernard Parks pointed out the importance of focusing, not only on those homeless individuals who are drug addicts, but also on those in society who seek to further the plight of the homeless population by supplying them with narcotics and victimizing them in other ways.
According to the California Department of Corrections, the LAPD arrested approximately two million people in the 1990s. By the year 2010, it is estimated that this convict population will all have been released back into the community and 28 percent of all parolees, state-wide, will return to Los Angeles County. The Year 2000 saw almost 37,000 felons paroled and re-paroled from prison to Los Angeles County. Of concern is the integration of these individuals to society; many of whom have no marketable skills.
Finally, among the major issues facing our community is that of the Youth Population Growth. The Los Angeles School Unified District has stated that by the year 2010, the crime-prone age, 14 to 24 years of age, will increase 40 percent, nationally.
Eighty percent of all violent crimes are committed by offenders between the ages of 14 and 24 years of age. According to the LAPD’s own Stop the Violence Campaign statistics, violence is the leading cause of death for young people in every major U.S. City. American young people are five to ten times more likely to die from violence than children in any other industrialized nation. Additionally, 70 percent of youth homicides involve people who know each other. Here in Los Angeles, the highest frequency of age of known suspects who committed homicides in the Year 2000 was between 17 and 21 years of age.
Recognizing that the law enforcement alone cannot resolve these community issues, community leaders and representatives of the various forums, with the Department’s involvement, moved toward the formation of committees to address these important issues. The committees will ultimately make recommendations to the Police Department, the Mayor and City Leaders.
The Department, upon request, will facilitate media requests for interviews.
This press release was prepared by Lieutenant Horace Frank, Officer in Charge, Media Relations Section.