Crime, class and law enforcement
Re “The LAPD and the myth of the ‘warrior cop,’ ” Current, July 23
As a resident of the neighborhood east of Robertson Boulevard, I take issue with Heather MacDonald’s statement: “Equally specious is the allegation that the department cares more about wealthy neighborhoods than poor.” After three young people were gunned down on our streets in three days, The Times printed the statistics (“Killing Highlights Brutal Border,” July 14). Last year, there were 121 assaults and robberies east of Robertson -- and no assaults and only one robbery on the west side of Robertson, “where the choicest real estate approaches Beverly Hills standards.”
The Los Angeles Police Department does have Compstat, a crime-mapping system, in place. The reality is, when it comes to putting patrol cars on the streets, the wealthy demand and get a police presence, while the poor end up with blood on the streets.
This article was a breath of fresh air. It would have been even better if it explained what “proactive cops” are in real-life terms. Having 33 years in the department, I will tell you. They know that 90% of the crime is caused by 10% of the crooks. They use any probable cause, no matter how trivial, to legally stop anyone they believe or know is a gang member or crook. These cops get in the shootings and altercations you read about. They knowingly place themselves in jeopardy to make a difference. Proactive cops look for bad guys, stop them legally and put them in jail for anything they can.
Proactive cops are the reason that crime goes down. Answering radio calls does not make crime go down; putting bad guys in jail does. Proactive cops treat citizens professionally because it is the right thing to do and the citizens are their best source of information.
If Los Angeles wants to decrease crime and make itself a safer city, then it should do what every study has recommended: increase the size of the department.
MARK J. SAVALLA