The City of Los Angeles is the birthplace of the most notorious and violent street gangs in America. We have exported this brand of urban terrorism throughout the world and become infamous for our contribution to humanity’s collective misery. Now is the time to change that image. Just as we became known as the origin of the problem, it is now time that we are recognized as the source of the solution.
In order to create this solution, the Los Angeles Police Department must do two things better than ever before: First, we have to restructure our organization so it can more effectively focus resources on the problem, and we must continue to include our federal and local law enforcements partners in the process. Second, we have to embrace the total solution to gang violence and recognize that just as law enforcement did not create the problem, we cannot view ourselves as the sole solution. That total solution involves prevention to stop the flow of our youth into gangs, intervention to rescue those already involved and interrupt the violence that rocks our communities, suppression to deter criminal acts through effective law enforcement and re-entry to provide an alternative future to gang members returning from incarceration.
We have a convergence of opportunity that may never occur again. There is strong political leadership from Mayor Villaraigosa who has created the Office of Gang Reduction and Youth Development (GRYD) under the Reverend Jeff Carr. Collaborative efforts are being formed in the County of Los Angeles driven by Sheriff Lee Baca, the Board of Supervisors and their Chief Executive Officer Bill Fujioka. Connie Rice and the Advancement Project have not only provided us with a plan of action, but are working with all our partners developing many of the programs described in these initiatives. And most importantly, the Chief of Police, William J. Bratton, has set the sights of the Department squarely on this problem and declared that these initiatives will be our top priority throughout the coming year.
These initiatives are:
Reduction of Gang Crime
Since 2007 gang crime in Los Angeles has dropped by 11 percent. Even though this is an impressive achievement we continue to see the devastating effects of gang violence in our community. In 2009, the Department reaffirms its commitment to reduce gang violence by 15 percent. Achieving this goal will mean 26 fewer murders and over 1,000 fewer victims of gang crime.
Strategic Operations Commander and RACR
A newly designated Strategic Operations Commander will work with our Real Time Crime Center (RACR) to deploy our considerable discretionary resources to emerging gang crime and trends. This will focus the hundreds of officers assigned to our Gang units, Metropolitan Division, Crime Reduction and Reduction of Warrants (CREW) Task Force and others on problems as they develop. This is a measure aimed directly at the prevention of gang retaliation murders, stopping the next killing. This Commander will be assigned during evening hours and work with RACR to identify gang trends or incidents as they occur and move resources throughout the City to address them.
Gang and Narcotics Division
Gangs, guns and drugs are a deadly combination. Beginning January 4, 2009, our Detective Bureau combined our Narcotics Division and Gang Operations Support Division into the new Gang and Narcotics Division. Combining these two entities will bring together over 300 detectives who will be specifically focused on disrupting violent gangs who support their lifestyle through the trafficking of narcotics and guns. This division will also expand the successful High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas Task Force concept to address violent gang crime.
COMPSTAT has proven to be the Department’s most effective tool to set priorities and change culture. Every COMPSTAT session will focus on gang crime reduction and the emphasis of the priorities established in these initiatives. Effective use of gang injunctions, partnerships with intervention, ongoing prevention or re-entry programs are but a few of the strategies to which commands will be held accountable.
We recognize that not only must intervention be approached from a professional standpoint and become responsive to crime as it occurs, but that the Department must learn to value intervention as an asset in violence interruption. To achieve these goals we will continue to support the initiatives developed by the Mayors GRYD Office as well as the development of a Gang Intervention Academy. We will also provide training on gang intervention and its protocols to all of our officers who deal with gang crime as part of their normal assignment.
Expansion of Community Law Enforcement and Recovery (CLEAR) Sites
Over the years, CLEAR has proven to be an effective tool in reducing violent gang crime. Each CLEAR team is a true partner with the LAPD, District Attorney’s Office, City Attorney’s Office and Probation Department. In 2009, it is anticipated that the California Department of Corrections will commit dedicated resources to CLEAR. In addition, the Mayor’s Office has secured funding to support additional CLEAR sites.
Executive Ad Hoc Committee on Gangs
Our Department will continue this highly successful police management accountability session convened to provide executive law enforcement officials a means to evaluate the progress of our collaborative crime abatement efforts. In these sessions, decision-makers from all our law enforcement partners will examine and adjust the enforcement initiatives that were implemented to address gang trends in our City.
The impact of graffiti is more than a visual eyesore. The effects of graffiti, especially gang graffiti, can paralyze and intimidate an entire community. As a result, the Department will work aggressively in 2009 to reduce graffiti vandalism by establishing a staff officer as the Department’s graffiti coordinator and developing a tracking system to gauge our impact on the issue.
Top-Targeted Street Gangs
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1. 18th Street Westside (Southwest Area)
2. 204th Street (Harbor Area)
3. Avenues (Northeast Area)
4. Black P-Stones (Southwest, Wilshire Areas)
5. Canoga Park Alabama (West Valley Area)
6. Grape Street Crips (Southeast Area)
7. La Mirada Locos (Rampart, Northeast Areas)
8. Mara Salvatrucha (Rampart, Hollywood, and
9. Rollin 40s (Southwest Area)
10. Rollin 30s Harlem Crips (Southwest Area)
11. Rolling 60s (77th Area)
12. Toonerville (Northeast Area)
13. Florencia 13 (77th, Newton)
14. Barrios Van Nuys (Van Nuys Area)
Top-Ten Gang Members
Continue the Top-10 Gang Member program and emphasize its importance in COMPSTAT.
Gifts for Guns
Partner with the Mayor’s Office and Los Angeles Sheriff’s Office in "Gifts for Guns"program.
Expanding Gang Expertise
Our success with remaining in front of gang crime trends is directly proportional to whether our Department is prepared to invest in additional resources devoted to preventing these crimes. To that end, an additional 400 specialized uniformed officers will receive dedicated training in gang history, culture and trends. Although these personnel are not Gang Enforcement Detail officers, they will nevertheless be offered more sophisticated training that will enable them to work more effectively in various regions frequented by gang members.
The Department’s Office of Operations director has tasked each Operations Bureau Chief to design a set of proposals that will address gang problems that are intrinsic to their individual commands. This will allow each commanding officer the opportunity to modify the gang prevention approach in their Areas as the situation warrants.
Growth of Gang Enforcement Details
Our renewed commitment to eradicate gangs in our communities now also compels us to realign our enforcement posture in a way that will allow us to regulate criminal gang behaviors. In the coming months, each of the Area Gang Enforcement Details will have the ability to assign additional personnel to gang enforcement duties without negating our obligation to our primary service delivery system – patrol.
Deployment of the Violent Crime Motor Enforcement Team
Although many of the crimes committed by gang members occur from the confines of moving vehicles they operate, we have yet to focus our enforcement efforts specifically at the type of transportation identified and used in violence episodes. The Violent Crime Motor Enforcement Team will be a platoon-sized cadre of motor officers deployed in high crime areas throughout the City. The primary objective of these personnel will be, through the enforcement of select California Vehicle Code statutes, to help significantly reduce the number of drive by shootings and other major assaults that occur in gang-infested areas.
Development of a "Secure Gang Blog"
In an effort to increase the "velocity" with which we identify, decipher and respond to occurrences that are gang-related, our Department is developing a secure internal "cyber blog"into which Area watch commanders will have the ability to record gang crime abstracts and other relevant information for immediate sharing with others throughout the City. Plans for the future include making this information instantly available to officers in the field as well as other police jurisdictions who may wish to participate.
Support of Prevention and Re-Entry Programs
The Department has developed many successful programs that deter our youth from entering gangs. We will continue to support those initiatives, and continue to work on the expansion of re-entry programs already being conducted in our Operations-South Bureau and other parts of the City.