The Los Angeles Police Department’s Van Nuys Division will get $82,000 from the office fund of City Councilman Ernani Bernardi to finance crackdowns in crime-ridden areas, especially along Sepulveda Boulevard, where prostitution is rampant.
Police said the fund transfer, approved by the City Council on Wednesday, will finance 3,000 hours of overtime for roving police patrols in the Sepulveda Boulevard area and high drug-trafficking neighborhoods such as exist on Blythe Street. Officers will also spend time identifying gang members, Los Angeles Police Capt. Charles Dinse said.
“The criminals are going to find a continuing presence on the streets,” Dinse said. “Most task forces strike hard, then have to pull off. But now we are going to be around for an awfully long time.”
Dinse predicted that the increased patrol hours will “substantially reduce” crime in the division.
Prostitutes along Sepulveda Boulevard have evoked community outrage because they often perform sex acts in cars parked on residential streets.
In 1985, 90% of the division’s 550 prostitution arrests were made along the boulevard. So far this year, there have been more than 400 arrests in the area.
The $82,000 was surplus in Bernardi’s $527,000 office budget for the 1985-86 fiscal year, which ends this month.
“I found it to be an effective way to deal with the serious crime problems,” Bernardi said of the transfer of funds, which he requested. “Sepulveda Boulevard is turning into a Hollywood annex.”
This is the third time since May, 1985, that Bernardi has allocated office funds for police task forces in his district. Last month, he authorized $15,000 for a five-day Sepulveda Boulevard prostitution crackdown that led to 166 arrests.
Dinse said that such periodic task forces cut crime for only a short time.
Last year Bernardi’s office gave $45,000 to what police called “Operation Second Place” to change the Van Nuys Division’s dubious No. 1 ranking in residential burglaries. At the end of the three-month task force drive, burglaries dropped 17% and the division ranked fourth in burglaries reported.