Re: "LAPD Gets Neighborly With Small-Time Crime," Feb. 16.
Community-based policing is working! Members of the Foothill Area Community-Police Advisory Board have been nudging the local brass to spend more time on the small things for years. For 1995 we identified areas with graffiti, day laborers and gang activity for special attention. This year we have as a group asked them to go after gang activity at one location, illegal vendor activity at another and the street-racing problem in Sylmar.
These are specific problems that [the advisory board], after discussion and debate, voted to ask our police officers to work with us [on] and develop strategies to solve. We, volunteers and LAPD employees, worked together to plan ways to make changes that we feel are important to our community.
Arresting a petty thief takes an officer off the street and slightly increases response time.
I personally would rather run a slightly higher risk of dying if the trade-off is living in a far more orderly society. Further, we will probably find that if we stop petty thieves and scofflaws, they won't become accustomed to breaking the law and progress to a life of habitual crime.
THOMAS M. WEISSBARTH
Weissbarth is a volunteer co-chairman of the Foothill Area Community-Police Advisory Board.
* I was amazed to see the article in your Feb. 16th issue, "LAPD Gets Neighborly With Small-Time Crime," which showed the police arresting and putting handcuffs on a peanut and orange vendor. Since when is it a crime to sell fruit on the street? At a time when jobs are hard to get I would think society would encourage the initiative displayed by [Daniel] Torres. Certainly it is a convenience to consumers to have his produce available.
We are constantly being told we need more police on the beat. Why, if their function is to harass people making an honest living?