Los Angeles: Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and Police Chief William Bratton hosted a briefing of local law enforcement leaders to review and discuss the first quarter results of the Department’s 2007 Gang Enforcement Initiatives, which were unveiled in February.
About 40 leaders from local, state and federal law enforcement agencies, as well as city, state and federal prosecutors met in the same room at the L.A. Mart, where Chief Bratton holds weekly COMPSTAT meetings. The one-hour meeting ended at 10:00 a.m. with a news conference with Mayor Villaraigosa, City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo, District Attorney Steve Cooley, City Councilman Jack Weiss and representatives of the various federal and state agencies supporting the initiative.
“The determined focus on gangs is paying dividends already,” said Chief Bratton. “While citywide crime categories are down 4%, gang crime, which is made up of twelve categories, is down 12%. All of us here today are committed to keeping the focus on this initiative, and we encourage the community to join us by providing information on gang activity.”
In the San Fernando Valley, where gang crime rose 40% last year, it began trending down in January. While trending down month-to-month, gang crime was still two points above the first quarter of 2006. The actual increase was six crimes. Chief Bratton noted that the twelve categories of gang crime account for only about 5% of the city’s violent crime. There were 1,604 gang crimes during the first three months, versus 31,111 Part I crimes. It should be noted that historically, the San Fernando Valley has one of the lowest rates for gang crime in Los Angeles, registering just over two gang crimes for every 10,000 residents. By comparison, South Los Angeles has three times the gang crime, or seven gang crimes per 10,000 residents.
Crimes committed by the top-targeted eleven gangs dropped 15% compared to last year, and arrests of the gangs’ members rose 36%, amounting to 456 arrests. The 257 gang crimes committed by those eleven gangs across the city in the first quarter amounted to less than 1% of all major crimes.
Commenting on the statistics, Chief Bratton said, “I am particularly pleased with the reduction in first quarter gang-related homicides from 66 in 2006 to 36 for 2007, a 45% reduction. Victims of gang-related shootings went from 339 in the first quarter of 2006 to 254 this year, a 25% reduction.”
Chief Bratton also thanked all of the partners in the still-evolving set of coordinated initiatives, noting: “We would not be achieving these results without the political leadership and focus on this issue by Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, and the commitment and support of our partners throughout the law enforcement community.”