Returning the Alvarado Corridor/MacArthur Park to the Community

March 10, 2004

"Returning the Alvarado Corridor/MacArthur Park to the Community"
WHAT: News Conference
WHEN: Thursday, March 11, 2004, at 9:00 a.m.
WHERE: MacArthur Park (southwest corner of 6th Street and Alvarado Street)
WHO: Los Angeles Chief of Police William J. Bratton; Councilman Ed Reyes; Assistant Chief George Gascon; Deputy Chief Gary Brennan, Operations-Central Bureau; Commander Lou Gray, Operations-Central Bureau; Captain Charlie Beck, Rampart Area; Captain John Sherman, Rampart Area

Los Angeles: MacArthur Park covers forty acres of land just west of downtown Los Angeles. The park has become a known area for violent crime, narcotics sales and gang activity. Six months ago, Rampart Division organized the Alvarado Corridor project. This project brings together police, local government, community members and business resources in a joint effort to reclaim MacArthur Park and the surrounding area for the people of Los Angeles.
The Alvarado Corridor project directs the efforts of Rampart’s narcotics squad, gang unit, footbeats, and bike unit on the rehabilitation of MacArthur Park. Bike patrols have been augmented by the donation of bikes from Councilman Reyes’ office. The added patrol has proven to be an effective resource in the park. The combination of these Rampart resources made over a thousand arrests in and around the park and even more importantly has changed the culture that surrounds the park.
A big factor in the culture shift has been the Park Camera Project. A partnership made of public funds, private contributions and generous donations of equipment and technical support by General Electric has combined to surround the Park with pan, tilt and zoom capable closed circuit television cameras that link to Rampart Station through the Internet.
This is proactive law enforcement that can be conducted miles away from the location of the crime. It is literally "virtual patrol" and allows one or two officers to operate observation posts on multiple high crime locations. Although in its infancy, this project has significant results. In just the past month over fifty arrests have been made for sales and possession of narcotics and the impact of the total project on the Park is dramatic. Because of signage posted in the park, and a related publicity effort, drug dealers and buyers are becoming aware of the cameras and are beginning to avoid the park entirely.
Another strategy used to reduce narcotics activity is "reverse" operations. A "reverse" operation uses an undercover police officer posing as a narcotics dealer and results in the arrest of the person attempting to buy narcotics. As part of the prosecution of those arrested, the City Attorney’s Office requests a stay away order from the park. These operations are run regularly in MacArthur Park and have resulted in 171 arrests over the past several months. "Reverse" operations will continue until the demand for narcotics in the park is eliminated.
As a direct result of the outstanding support from these contributors and the efforts of the Los Angeles Police Officers in the Rampart Area, crime related statistics for the area surrounding MacArthur Park have remarkably decreased:

Homicides -38%
Shootings -50%
Robberies -14%
Major Assault Crimes -9%

The impact of these and other strategies on the park have been significant. The community and their children are returning to the park. City government in the form of Recreation and Parks and the Department of Water and Power are reinvesting in the parks infrastructure. Event planners are again considering the park as a venue and in fact the "Pasadena Pops" are planning a concert for this Father’s Day. As the community takes back the park, business will expand in the Alvarado Corridor and the local economy will improve.
The success of the Alvarado Corridor Project demonstrates how the city can make neighborhoods safer through collaborative efforts with the police department, community groups and the private sector," said Mayor Jim Hahn. "In these tough budget times creative partnerships will go a long way toward providing resources where they are needed most."
The Los Angeles Police Department would like to thank its partners in these efforts:
Mayor James Hahn, City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo, Councilman Ed Reyes, U. S. Department of Justice (Weed and Seed grant), the Department of Water and Power, the Department of Recreation and Parks, General Electric, Hamilton Pacific, LA Gardens Community Association, Central American Resource Center, Langer’s, Bank of America, and American Cement Building.
For further information contact Captain Charlie Beck, Commanding Officer, Rampart Area, at 213-485-3586.
This news advisory was prepared by Public Information Officer Lucy Diaz, Media Relations Section, at 213-485-3586.