Harbor Gateway residents, who have been complaining for years about lack of police in their neighborhoods, are about to get a small dose of relief: The Los Angeles Police Department will establish a business office in their community.
The so-called "police reporting station" will not be open to the public, as would a regular substation. Rather, it will be for the private use of officers, who will complete reports, conduct telephone interviews and work on investigations there.
But, said Los Angeles Councilwoman Joan Milke Flores, the reporting station will make it easier for city police officers who serve Harbor Gateway to spend more time in the area. Because of the Gateway's long, narrow configuration, officers must now travel to substations in Watts or San Pedro.
Flores, who announced plans for the reporting station Thursday during her annual State of the City address for Harbor City and Harbor Gateway, said she has been badgering Los Angeles Police Chief Daryl Gates to improve coverage in Harbor Gateway.
"We really wanted a full substation and he's been fighting me all the way. . . . At this point, we're just happy to have this small commitment from him," she said.
Reporting Station Favored
A spokesman for the police chief was not available for comment Thursday. However, one harbor-area police official--Capt. Steven Gates of LAPD's Southeast Division, which covers the northern end of Harbor Gateway--said the reporting station is a better idea than a substation, which would have to be staffed around the clock and would take officers off the street.
"I think the citizens are more interested in having a patrol car than having somebody there to take a crime report," he said.
Gates predicted his officers would use the reporting station "if the aesthetics were adequate and security was adequate and they felt comfortable there." But, he added, "there are going to be times and situations that they have when it will be necessary to go to the (sub)station."
The location of the new reporting station is tentatively planned in an office near Gardena Boulevard, in the middle of Harbor Gateway. Flores would not disclose the precise location, saying a company has agreed to donate the office space but the plans are not firm. She also said her office plans to donate equipment, including a computer, for the officers.
News of the station was generally well received by residents. "I think it will help a lot," said Betty Trull, who runs a Neighborhood Watch group in the Gardena Boulevard area and who has been a vocal critic of police coverage. "That means they'll be in and out all the time."
Trull and her husband Jack, a retired sheriff's deputy, were among the 60 or so people who attended Flores' breakfast speech, sponsored by the Harbor City/Harbor Gateway Chamber of Commerce. The councilwoman's talk, at the Harbor Gateway Holiday Inn, focused heavily on increased business growth in the area, including the Gateway's 190th Street Corridor.
But she also touched on neighborhood issues: problems with gangs and graffiti, an effort to designate Harbor Regional Park a city historic site, and an effort by United Way to improve social and health services in Harbor Gateway.
The councilwoman also announced two improvements planned at Harbor City Recreational Center. She said construction will begin soon on an irrigation system for the playing fields at the park, and that she is requesting funding in the city's 1989-90 budget for a new community building to be constructed there.
And as for "the No. 1 complaint that we get," Flores told residents that her office is working with other city agencies to "try to devise some way to provide regular street sweeping on a trial basis in this community."
Flores said several alternatives are being examined, including establishment of an assessment district in which property owners would pay for the sweeping; contracting with adjacent jurisdictions, or hiring private firms to do the sweeping rather than the city Bureau of Street Maintenance.