Operation Healthy Neighborhoods

September 11, 2000

Monday, September 11, 2000

"Operation Healthy Neighborhoods"
Mayor Riordan’s Comprehensive Plan To Improve Quality of Life and Combat Violence Throughout Los Angeles

Los Angeles – In concert with other City leaders and members of the community, Mayor Richard J. Riordan today unveiled "Operation Healthy Neighborhoods," a $14-million comprehensive plan that will revitalize and uplift communities throughout the City and respond to a recent trend of increasing crime in various parts of the city.

"Los Angeles has enjoyed seven years of dramatically declining crime rates, making us one of the safest major cities in the nation," said Mayor Riordan. "With this program we are redoubling our efforts to ensure the gains we have made are not lost."

Los Angeles Police Department statistics show that violent crime has decreased over 40 percent and homicides have fallen by over 50 percent citywide since the Mayor took office in 1993.

Mayor Riordan said, "Over the past years we have made significant investments to improve the quality of life in our neighborhoods. We have tripled the number of abandoned buildings rehabilitated; more than doubled the number of miles of streets resurfaced; tripled the number of trees trimmed annually; cleaned up 60 percent more illegally dumped refuse; closed problem street alleys; cleaned more streets; and, for the first time, made a significant investment in repairing our sidewalks.

In addition, we have more police officers on patrol with better equipment than ever before, more children in afterschool programs and the lowest unemployment rate in a decade. Los Angeles is a healthy and vibrant City. However, as I always say, we must do better."

"Operation Healthy Neighborhoods" is a coordinated and aggressive strategy that strengthens communities in four important ways: Clean and Safe Parks; Quality of Life – Community Response Teams; Investing in Youth – Employment Opportunities; and Strategic Crime Reduction.

Four major features of "Operation Healthy Neighborhoods" include the following:

Clean and Safe Parks Program

Parks belong to our communities. Modeled on a successful program that cleaned up the Sepulveda Recreation Center, the Department of Parks and Recreation will employ a team to target 36 parks in or near high-crime areas. This program will dramatically upgrade these community parks over the next 9 months, improving facilities, adding new children’s play equipment and making important safety upgrades, including new lighting. Expanded programming will focus on teens and at-risk youth. In partnership with community members and the LAPD, these parks will be turned into valuable and safe resources for children and their families.

Quality of Life: "Fixing Broken Windows"

Illegal dumping, graffiti, abandoned buildings and unclean streets and sidewalks, all diminish the pride we have in our neighborhoods and, without remedy, allow more serious crime to occur. In the next 9 months, "broken windows" in many of our communities will be fixed. The city will utilize its successful inter-departmental teams and partner with the community to focus on quality of life improvements. Specific actions will include immediate debris removal, graffiti cleanup, abandoned building rehabilitation, removal of tennis shoes from power lines, bulky item pick-up and alley cleaning.

Investing in Our Youth – Employment Opportunities

The City has developed an integrated system of educational, vocational, career development and support services for youths. The U.S. Department of Labor has recently awarded the City one of the largest youth training and employment grants in its history – a $44 million commitment over 5 years.

Up to 9,000 youths will be served in the target areas of Watts and Boyle Heights. A separate grant ($9 million) will provide similar services to young people in the Northeast San Fernando Valley.

Strategic Crime Reduction Plan

The Los Angeles Police Department has developed a strategic crime reduction plan to combat violent crime throughout the City, with special emphasis in high crime areas. Under the plan, the Department will deploy significant resources when crime occurs most often, Thursday-Sunday, 6 p.m. to 3 a.m.

The Juvenile Division will expand efforts to aggressively enforce truancy laws, especially in nine high schools in the South and Central areas of the city, along with aggressive enforcement of curfew laws.

The plan will target the resources of the Narcotics Division, as well as deploy Vice personnel and Organized Crime Divisions to focus on Alcoholic, Beverage and Control (ABC) enforcement where violent crimes occur.

Riordan concluded, "We have made much progress to date. To be sure we have more work to do. With the leadership of the City Council and in partnership with our residents, today is the next step in ensuring that every community in Los Angeles is healthy and safe."

EDITOR’S NOTE: Supplemental Graphic Charts are Available from Mayors Office, Peter Hidalgo 213-847-3556

For Release 5:00 pm PDT
September 11, 2000