Uniting to fight the rising increase in robberies and other crimes, African American community leaders joined with L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti and L.A. Police Chief Michel Moore to show support for increased efforts to deter law-breakers.
In recent weeks, six burglaries, four robberies and one grand theft occurred, some involving individuals and others comprised of mobs conducting smash-and-grab crimes at stores including Nordstrom’s and Home Depot.
During a press conference on December 2, civic and business representatives stood behind Garcetti as he expressed the city’s commitment to utilizing every available resource to protect residents, shoppers and retailers during the holiday season.
“We want you to support your local businesses, especially after COVID-19,” Garcetti said. “We want you to be out there shopping and knowing you can do that safely.
“We will be out there to make sure that your family is safe, that the places you love to shop are safe, and so that you can enjoy a holiday season that we have all hungered for after two years of being at home,” added the mayor
Offering another take on the topic, Dr. Cheyenne Bryant, NAACP San Pedro/Wilmington Branch president, said, “Los Angeles is in a crime crisis. The crime rate has increased, and public safety has decreased. If you take away resources, crime increases. If you provide resources, then crime decreases.
“The Black community has been in a resource crisis forever, that’s why crime always finds itself in our communities. This is why organizations like NAACP and the Dr. Bryant Foundation exist – to provide an array of resources to our community that will allow them to thrive and not just survive, and to create opportunities that will result in a good quality of life. Equality and equity are a civil right. A good quality of life is a human right,” she insisted.
Still, Garcetti referred to L.A. as being “probably in the safest decade of our lifetimes,” despite the uptick in robberies. However, he also acknowledged that fact does not comfort people who are of victims of criminal activities.
“It means nothing if you’re a member of the [Jacqueline] Avant family (who was killed during a home invasion in Beverly Hills on December 1) or a member of a family that was attacked today,” Garcetti said.
“We never want to dismiss that, but we also don’t want it blow up where everybody thinks that suddenly we’re seeing statistics that are way beyond what they actual numbers are.”
An interesting aspect of the press conference was Chief Moore’s announcement of the arrests of 14 people connected to 11 robberies from North Hollywood to South L.A., but none remained in custody. Moore said the releases were due to either age, posting bail or zero bail policies that were implemented at the onset of the COVID pandemic.
“Striking in that small number of crimes was the amount of property that was stolen,” Moore said. “$338,000 worth of property was stolen across the 11 robberies, which also caused more than $40,000 worth of property damage.”
At a separate event on December 5, Chief Mark Stainbrook of the Beverly Hills Police Department said that the agency will beef up its workforce by immediately adding five more police officers and assigning armed, private Covered-Six security to patrol the streets. BHPD has also launched a recruitment campaign. Interested candidate can apply at JoinBHPD.org.
Beverly Hills and Los Angeles have seen an uptick in violent crimes of late, including a rash of smash-and-grab retail robberies and a concurrent wave of so-called “follow-home” robberies, in which criminals target people with high-end merchandise, sometimes following them to their homes.
City News Service contributed to this article.