Mid Year Crime Stats
With summer now in full swing and half of the year already over, the fruits of our labor are taking shape. Trends have been established and goals are within reach. As you continue to serve the people of Los Angeles know that your work is making a real difference. Every day the people count on you to keep them safe and you have not disappointed.
My review of mid-year crime numbers shows we are on pace for a ninth straight year of overall decline in crime. This is truly astonishing. Even with the odds stacked against us and a major fiscal crisis, we still manage to drive crime down to numbers this City has not seen in decades. Nobody does more with less than you do and for that you should be tremendously proud.
Here are some key specifics.
Compared with the first half of 2010, as of June violent crime is down 9.6%, property crimes decreased 7.3% and Part I crimes fell 7.7%. Even more telling is the homicide rate. Compared with the first six months of 2010 homicides are down 8.1%. We can all take deep personal pride in these results.
Particularly impressive is your attack on gang crime, which accounts for more than half of our total crime. Year to date gang-related aggravated assaults are down 7.7%, gang-related rapes are down 21.4% and total gang crime has been reduced 16.1%.
Let’s never forget, these are not just numbers, they are people. Every percentage drop in crime, means fewer victims, fewer people who feel the deep personal pain of criminal victimization. When I say you are making a difference, know that it is true.
Plenty of work remains to be done. We can never rest on our laurels. As we continue forward, use this positive momentum to your advantage. Let’s continue to make Los Angeles America’s safest big city.
LAPD Heroes Under Fire
On June 27th, Hollywood Area Officers Michael Kim and Jimmy Lam were working traffic control after a Monday morning hit-and-run traffic collision near Santa Monica Boulevard and Western Avenue when they saw a Dodge Caravan unrelated to the traffic collision stopped at a nearby traffic light. Heavy black smoke poured from under the Caravan. After calling the LAFD, officers tried to free the occupant from the van but she was unaware of the danger and did not understand what the officers wanted her to do.
As thick smoke filled the van, the driver finally realized she needed to unlock the doors but in the chaos of the moment she could not free herself from her seatbelt. Officer Kim used his pocketknife to cut her loose. Then, as toxic smoke and flames engulfed the vehicle, the officers pulled the victim from the vehicle and used fire extinguishers from their police car to fight the fire until LAFD arrived.
Officers Kim and Lam’s decisive and brave actions, taken without regard for their personal safety, saved a human life. We are all proud to be associated with people who willingly take these kinds of risks for a fellow man or woman.
At the same time, we must be continually vigilant against the rising dangers of policing in our City. While crime rates are down violence against police officers is on the rise, both locally and nationally. 2010 was the deadliest on record for law enforcement officers nationwide. Be extra careful out there. Don’t make assumptions. Treat everyone with respect while always putting officer safety first.
For more than a year our civilian employees have endured the hardship of mandatory furloughs. Furlough days hurt everyone. Employees lose vitally needed income and the Department’s critical work goes undone.
Recently, members of the Coalition of LA City Unions voted to accept changes in their compensation in order to end furlough days. This was a significant sacrifice which benefits the Department and City as a whole. This concession, while not ideal, was needed in order to obtain increased stability. I want to thank all of our civilians who voted to ratify the amendments and I look forward to moving on as a group, focusing on the business of keeping our City safe.
Some civilian employees who are not a part of the Coalition still may be subject to mandatory furloughs. Please know the entire Department stands with and supports you during this difficult time. Your continued hardship is on the minds of many. I hope we can quickly come to a solution that eliminates mandatory furloughs for all.
Over the past few months much work and many hours went into negotiations on a new Memorandum of Understanding for sworn employees. We are finally at a point at which a majority of our workforce has contracts for the next three years. I was not directly involved in negotiations, but I did pay careful attention and clearly understand the feelings of uncertainty you were feeling. I want to thank everyone for your patience and understanding throughout this process. You maintained the professionalism which has made our organization the world-class agency it is and I am deeply grateful.
Coffee at Harbor Station
Last month I had the privilege of attending an open meeting at Harbor Station. I was particularly pleased that the meeting was attended by a substantial number of civilian as well as sworn personnel. A good deal of our conversation centered on the problems caused by our extremely tight budget. We had a very fruitful and open exchange of ideas, complaints and suggestions. I really appreciate the willingness of everyone, especially civilian employees, to be direct, open and frank about their concerns. I hope I succeeded in conveying to all the extremely high value I place on the work done by our civilian employees. Over decades of service on the Department, I have come to appreciate just how vital our civilian employees are to the Department and the people of Los Angeles. Our solidarity in these tough times has paid off in a safer city and will continue to reap benefits in the future when the economy recovers and we can reward all who have persevered thorough the present stresses.
Western States Police & Fire Games
In early June, the Western States Police and Fire games were held in Ontario. More than 10,000 full-time and retired firefighters and law enforcement personnel, including about 350 officers from our Department, competed in 64 sporting events. Having been involved in Department sports for many years and having competed in these games, in basketball and in other events, I take great pride in knowing you are keeping the competitive spirit alive.
Some of the highlights of the games included our bowling team taking home 14 total medals, our wrestling team bringing back 10 medals, our paintball team winning a gold and bronze medal, our baseball team earning a gold medal and the LAPD “Hit Squad” coed softball club going undefeated in their two day tournament and bringing home a gold medal.
These are just some of the many successes our Department achieved. Whether its police and fire games, local tournaments or intra-departmental scrimmages, our Department is one that not only competes but competes at a high level. Keep up the excellent work and I look forward to hearing joining many of you at the upcoming World Police and Fire Games being held later this month in New York.