City Council Seeks Information on LAPD Gang Intervention Efforts
With gang crime on the decrease, the city council is requesting information from LAPD on how they work with local groups to reduce gang crime.
By David Fonseca
The Los Angeles City Council on Tuesday approved a pair of motions seeking more information about how the Los Angeles Police Department identifies and and attempts to prevent gang crimes.
Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa on Monday stated in a dual press conference with LAPD Charlie Beck that gang crime has been reduced by 47.5-percent since he took office and that a "record-low" 152 gang related homicides were reported in 2012.
Despite the marked reduction in gang crime, Chief Beck said the problem still required is "still unacceptable" and "requires much work."
One of the two motions passed on Tuesday, which was authored by Councilman Tony Cardenas, would require the Los Angeles Police Department to provide within 30 days a report detailing the level to which the department collaborates with gang intervention programs.
"Given the significant steps that have been taken to further professionalize the field of community-based gang intervention within the City of Los Angeles and the historic partnership that has developed among law enforcement and interventionists, a report from the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) affirming the integral role of community-based gang intervention in helping to reduce violence would substantially contribute to demonstrating the overall effectiveness and necessity of intervention services during these difficult economic times," Cardenas' motion states.
Ramiro Motta, of the Lincoln Heights-based gang intervention program Aztecs Rising, told Patch in 2011 that such programs often serve as a critical link between families affected by gang crime and law enforcement.
"Our biggest goal is to deal with those hardcore gang members, but the thing is we are not trying to change any of the politics," Ramiro Motta said. "What we are trying to do is give these guys resources and other venues, other ways of looking at things."
A second Cardenas authored motion requests that the city council receive and file a 2010 LAPD report clarifying how the department classifies gang crime.
According to the 2010 report submitted by the Los Angeles Police Department "any crime may constitute a gang-related crime when the suspect or
victim is an active or affiliate gang member, or when circumstances indicate that the crime is consistent with gang activity."
LAPD relies on the following criteria to determine if any given crime should be classified as a gang crime:
1. The suspect or victim is a known gang member previously documented as such within Department automated systems,
2. The suspect or victim is a known gang member or affiliate.
3. The suspect or victim has a gang tattoo(s)
4. The suspect or victim has a gang moniker
5. A statement indicating gang involvement was made
6. The suspect or victim was "dressed down" or wearing gang colors or clothing
7. The suspect or victim was demonstrating gang behavior (using gang hand-signs)
8. Multiple suspects and gang (MO) involved
9. The location of the crime was within identified gang boundaries, or at a known gang location or hangout,
10. Similar reports where the suspects were identified as gang members (Similar MOs, suspects, times and location)
11. The type and/or MO of the crime is inherently gang-related (e.g. drive-by shootings, ect.)