Mid Year Crime Stats
When I became your Chief, I committed to working hard for each and every member of this Department of which I am so proud. As I write this message and reflect on some of the accomplishments we have achieved together, I am truly even more pleased. When goals were set at the beginning of the year, I asked for a few things. I asked for your commitment to continue to work hard to drive crime down, police in a constitutional manner, and prepare for and work to prevent acts of terrorism. I also asked for your personal commitment to maintain employee wellness, not as a mandate, but because we have a moral and personal obligation to help one another and stay healthy in all aspects of our lives at home and at work. I recognize each and every day, extraordinary things are expected of you and sometimes a little bit of praise and recognition can go a long way. As a police officer, I understand the value in knowing deep in your heart you are supported by the community, your supervisors, and most of all, the Department. When I can demonstrate my support and appreciation for you, through my interactions with you on patrol or through a personal note of thanks, I am reminded this is one of the most important and rewarding aspects of my job. You continue to demonstrate it is possible for each and every employee of this Department to make a difference.
Thanks to your commitment and hard work we have continued a historic and unprecedented eight years of crime decline. As the City is faced with the many challenges and choices in balancing the budget, we have been successful and effective at keeping crime down, particularly gang crime. This is truly an accomplishment you all should be proud of and one that is singular in nature, as crime continues to rise in other large cities across the nation. We never could have done this without the tremendous support of our civilian staff who for the past year have given so much in both commitment and financial sacrifice. Through their sacrifice of furloughs we have been able to keep police officers in the black and whites.
Before I get to the 2010 mid-year crime numbers, I want to remind all of you why we do this job. On July 7th, 57-year old Lonnie Franklin Jr. was arrested in 77th Division, ending a serial killing spree that had lasted more than 20-years and giving hope to the families of his 10 victims that justice will be served. Franklin was dubbed the “Grim Sleeper.” The use of familial DNA that led to his arrest will become a landmark case that will change the way policing is done in the United States. RHD Cold Case Detectives, who were part of the 800 Task Force, have been working tirelessly since 2007 to identify and capture Franklin. Working with the California Department of Justice, DNA from Franklin’s son, who is also a convicted felon, established a familial connection between the family member and DNA that had been collected at the murder scenes. That connection was used to identify Franklin. Once we had a sample of his DNA, there was no question we had our killer. I want to congratulate everyone, sworn and civilian, who worked tirelessly on this case for more than three consecutive days collecting and documenting the evidence at scene. This investigation is the first of its kind in the United States and brings us on par with the way DNA searches are done in some parts of Western Europe. Most importantly it will bring justice to victims to which it has been denied.
You have clearly made a difference and saved lives. Compared to the first six months of 2009, violent crime is down 11.4%, property crimes decreased 5.3% and Part I Crimes fell 6.6%. While homicides increased from 144 to 150 for an increase of 4.2%, the overall decline from 2005 to 2010 is nearly 40%.
I have said it before and I will say it again, the cause and reason for the decline in crime is clear, it is the sworn and civilian men and women of this great Department and your dedication to the people of the many communities we protect and serve. This successful result is undeniable proof LAPD sworn and civilian personnel have an abundance of strength, talent and goodwill.
Particularly impressive is your commitment in battling gangs in their attempts to dominate community life in Los Angeles. You have been able to use creative gang prevention and apprehension strategies to cripple some of our most violent street gangs. You kept gang homicides from increasing in the first half of 2009. You reduced aggravated assaults by 8.5%, rape by 23.5%, and decreased gang crime overall by 9.4%.
I have always understood an essential component of the Department is our civilian workforce. Civilians are a vital part of the day to day operations of the LAPD. They are vital to our success and without them we could not accomplish the Department goals and objectives. I want to say a special thank you to our civilian workforce, because they are critical members of our LAPD team and every bit a part of our success in fighting crime. I am very thankful for our civilian employees and recognize their remarkable work in keeping the LAPD moving forward.
As you are aware, one of the goals I set for this year was the prevention of terrorist incidents. We must be vigilant and steadfast in our efforts to recognize signs and prevent attacks. As a Department we cannot do this alone. This is why we are partnering with our communities to launch iWATCH. The iWATCH program will serve as a valuable asset in our efforts to combat terrorism and prevent a major attack on our City. This national program will utilize the people we serve in our own communities as additional resources in identifying potential risks. Members of the public can report suspicious activities and behaviors by calling 1-877-A-THREAT, or reporting online at iWATCHLA.org. In June, the iWATCH program was rolled out at the Los Angeles International Airport. This allows us to share potential intelligence information with the Los Angeles World Airport Police to further protect LAX. Any reports of suspicious behavior or activity will be analyzed by trained LAPD detectives.
Our Senior Lead Officers and Community Relations Officers have also received training on this “21st century version of Neighborhood Watch” and iWATCH posters will be distributed to police and fire stations throughout the City. It is important all of you are aware of this critical program. You can access LAPDOnline.org for more information on iWATCH.
Together, We Can
Now that we are just past the mid-year mark and with a new fiscal budget, my staff and I are frequently meeting to identify critical positions within the Department and assess the possibility of promotions for both sworn and civilian personnel. I remain cautiously optimistic we can create transfer and upgrade opportunities in the coming months.
Here’s the latest on the various projects in the works that have been initiated as a direct result of your inquiries and suggestions:
- A pilot program has been implemented at Van Nuys Jail to streamline the booking process and actually get officers released faster when arrestees need medical treatment
- A project has been initiated to assess how we can improve the pertinence of performance evaluations for Reserve Officers
- A Special Order is in the final stages of the approval process to amend the Investigative Report (IR) face sheet to document an involved person’s email address
- We are looking at best practices to better track 171 hours when it comes to timekeeping, as the current systems are not developed for this type of management tool
- We are researching the impact of the educational requirement for promotional exams and attempting to offer college credit for many of our in-service courses
- In an effort to create consistency in filing requirements via fax, we are looking into how we can make this process easier and establish standardization citywide