The holiday season is a chance for us all to reflect on the year and be thankful for being able to see another come to pass. As the Senior Lead Officer for half of the Skid Row area, there are many things that I can look back on this year and feel a sense gratitude for. One of the things I am thankful for is the continuing reduction in crime in the Skid Row community thanks to Safer Cities Initiative (SCI). I was glad to be a part of the SCI unit for the past seven months, which gave me a deeper respect for the dedication of the officers and leadership that is assigned there. I am grateful to be able to drive down Skid Row streets that I survey, and see far less people suffering from the aftermath of Skid Row violence. I am especially thankful to the Skid Row community for opening their hearts and minds to me over the last four years. I am ever encouraged by the solid relationships that I have formed over my time in Skid Row with the wonderful community I serve. Many thanks go out to the Skid Row community members who boldly brushed aside their fears and reported crime and crime trends to me. Just a few short years ago, a rational fear of retaliation from the criminal element deterred many Skid Row citizens from reporting crimes either committed against them or to others. As the community has become safer, community members and their involvement in crime reduction have become more common place in spite of efforts to derail the SCI, and demonize the officers involved with it.
For the many that came to the Skid Row walks to see Skid Row for themselves and talk to the people, rather than simply reading about it and forming an opinion of our efforts, I truly thank you for having an open mind. I look forward to walking and talking with many more individuals in an effort for all to remove their judgmental ideals of what being homeless in Skid Row truly is.
I fully expect to continue in these gains well on into the next year. By working together, I believe that this place we call Skid Row will truly become a place of rehabilitation for those in need of it. You are always in my thoughts.
I would like to take the time to honor the members of the Skid Row community who lost their lives this year. Our thoughts go out to the families, co-workers and friends of the following individuals for their loss:
Ann Leslie – A member of the SRO Corp.;
Leslie Carter – A Skid Row Community member;
Carol Taylor – Employee of the VOA at 628 South San Julian Street;
Sheila Jashuam – Crime Victim;
Kevin “KK” Cohen – Actor and Skid Row Activist/Crime victim;
Tommy Hayes – Crime Victim; and,
Leslie Taplin – Community Activists and Friend to the Skid Row Community.
To the friends and family, you have my deepest condolences and are in my prayers.