Since being elected in 2001 the matter of serious, violent crime has been the greatest challenge. As the Councilwoman for the Ninth District, I have used every tool available to me to seek a far better outcome for our community. Legislatively, I have introduced motions to take immediate action, to enhance safety and to examine LAPD work schedules and deployment.
This summer we locked down one of our parks for the protection of the families and Recreation and Parks staff. This action was taken because of a rising threat of crime at the park that tragically ended with the death of a 17-year-old boy a victim of a drive by shooting. Do we have a crystal ball? No. However, were there warning signs? Yes. Earlier in the year, there had been a shooting. No one was hurt, but the threat was apparent.
I am now paying for a Security Officer at this park out of my office budget in the interest of community safety. I will continue to do so. However, we must do more to address the serious safety concerns throughout the South Los Angeles community.
This past year has been particularly hard with the highest incidence of violent crime and homicides occurring in Newton Division. In fact, there is more violent crime per officer in my council district than anywhere in the City of Los Angeles.
I have consistently voted to support the expansion of the Los Angeles Police Department. I have pushed hard to take a serious look at deployment in divisions like Newton. We need more officers available to the community and on patrol. We need to continue to work with the resources we have to establish methods of crime suppression, as well as safe and effective community involvement in solving and preventing violent crime.
I know that there is no Councilmember that lacks concern about the dangerous environment in some of our communities. I just happen to represent the interests of the community that is the most impacted by the most serious, dangerous, entrenched criminal element in our city. This community needs our support and our help.
I work with and deeply appreciate the families and people from the community, seniors, students, and activists that continue to work with us and stay in the fight.
I introduced a council motion that asks: are we staffing police in a manner that maximizes our ability to serve communities under siege like South Los Angeles? Would it be to our benefit to afford our LAPD Divisions, in particular Newton and 77th, a greater measure of flexibility in the scheduling of their officers?
I am determined to maximize deployment in a manner that will better serve the needs of our community. I do not believe that the compressed work schedule provides enough officers per shift. We can make a change in the LAPD work schedule by administrative action with a 30 day notice.
My constituents need our help, our understanding, and action that places community interests first. I strongly support programs for at risk youth, diversion, employment and after school programs that work as an alternative to gang life. However, knowing the victims of violent crime and their families and the impact violent crime has had on our community, we can and must do more.
Jan Perry n is Los Angeles City Councilmember for the Ninth District, which includes most of downtown and the Skid Row area of Los Angeles.