In an effort to curb crime in one of the toughest areas in South Los Angeles, law enforcement officials announced a strategy Friday that will focus on forcibly taking juvenile curfew offenders off the streets.
Citing a rise in homicides in that area this year, Sheriff Lee Baca described a concerted effort by the Sheriff’s Department and two Los Angeles Police Department divisions, Southeast and 77th. The sweeps will take individuals under 18 off the streets between 10 p.m. and sunrise, using a law enforcement mobile unit.
Officers in the 77th Division have already been conducting periodic curfew sweeps, but this effort will be far broader.
A news conference was held by Councilman Mark Ridley-Thomas and attended by Supervisor Yvonne Brathwaite Burke, numerous law enforcement officials, local clergy and community members in the parking lot of a Winchell’s doughnut shop at Imperial Highway and Normandie Avenue, where two young men were killed five weeks ago.
Capt. Sam Jones of the sheriff’s Lennox Station will be in charge of coordinating the effort. He will schedule periodic curfew sweeps and enlist the support of Juvenile Court judges.
A mobile unit will be used to take juveniles to specified locations instead of jail. Parents will then be called to pick them up, and they could be required to attend parenting classes.
In addition to going after potential troublemakers, the sweeps will try to keep youths who could become victims of crime off the streets, Jones said.
“The curfew was already in place,” he said, “but it was not being rigorously enforced.”