Los Angeles, CA, January 22, 2016 (Newswire.com) - The Los Angeles Police Department and the gang intervention group Ceasefire met to evaluate the current state of violent crime in South Los Angeles and to coordinate prevention strategies.
Held at the Church of Scientology Community Center on 81st and Vermont, blocks from the South Vermont corridor known as “Death Alley,” the discussion looked at, among other things, the spike in murders in August 2015 and the apparent turnaround shortly after. LAPD Deputy Chief South Bureau William “Bill” Scott, Det. Chris Barling and LAPD Gang Intervention Liaison Stinson Brown, openly discussed with Ceasefire members how the community and the police, working together with trust and cooperation, can help reduce gang violence.
"The California Ceasefire meetings always facilitate healthy and productive dialogue between the LAPD and the community we serve. Tough questions are asked and we are held accountable for both our response to crime and public safety and also for our actions."
Deputy Chief Scott, LAPD
Statistics were reviewed including the alarming fact that violent crime jumped 36 percent in the first quarter of 2015, followed by an eruption of violence in South Los Angeles’ Death Alley equating to 1.2 killings each day in the month of August—10 times the monthly casualty count of U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan in 2014. They also pointed out that immediately following this, murders dropped by a significant 20 percent for the remainder of the year.
What happened to turn the tide? The officers pointed out that the drop in violent crime coincided with an increase in gang intervention and drug prevention programs directed toward youth. In addition, there was a simultaneous increase in LAPD community policing, along with greater cooperation and collaboration between the intervention groups such as Ceasefire and the LAPD.
Ceasefire President Ben “Taco” Owens, stated, “We turned a corner as a community to be able to have a conversation with law enforcement, with the victims and families, with communities as a whole. To get to where we have to be, we have to do it collectively.”
Deputy Chief Scott concurred. “The California Ceasefire meetings always facilitate healthy and productive dialogue between the LAPD and the community we serve. Tough questions are asked and we are held accountable for both our response to crime and public safety and also for our actions,” he said.
The Church of Scientology Community Center features a 380-seat event hall, the L. Ron Hubbard Community Auditorium, designed for community events and as a meeting ground for residents of all denominations. The Center also includes numerous classrooms and seminar facilities for a full range of civic programs, including a complete literacy and tutoring center. The Community Center is open 10:00am to 9:30pm Monday through Friday and 10:00am to 6:00pm Saturday and Sunday.