24-Hour Police Patrols Seek to Curb Crime

The Los Angeles Police Department has launched an 18-month program designed to eliminate gang-related crime in Venice and Mar Vista by adding several 24-hour police patrols.

"We're going to stop having a Band-Aid approach and cure the symptoms," said Capt. Alan Kerstein, commanding officer of the Pacific area community police station.

The Model Neighborhood Program targets the Oakwood community in Venice and the neighborhood surrounding the Mar Vista housing project in Mar Vista, Kerstein said. Each zone is about one square mile and is home to about 8,000 people.

Three patrol shifts will be created for a 24-hour presence in the targeted areas, and will include two officers in a patrol car, two on foot and two on bicycle, he said.

Kerstein said that he will ask LAPD Police Chief Bernard C. Parks for a loan of three sergeants and 18 officers to meet the personnel requirements. Otherwise, he will reshuffle officers in his own department to meet the need, he said.

Councilwoman Ruth Galanter's office will work to improve city services such as graffiti removal and building and safety ordinances in the two neighborhoods.

"Things are much better in Oakwood and Mar Vista than they were a year ago," Galanter said. "But not nearly good enough. Drug sales continue and gang members still intimidate people and rule by fear."

Police will hold a community hearing about the new program at 7 p.m. Wednesday at the Oakwood recreation center, 767 California Ave.

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