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LAPD Seeks Anti-Crime Features on Buildings

Times Staff Writer

The Los Angeles Police Commission on Tuesday endorsed the creation of a unit to ensure that new buildings in Los Angeles are designed to help prevent crime, including, in some cases, the use of extensive lighting and surveillance cameras.

Assistant Chief George Gascon said the proposal, which requires City Council approval, reflects a recognition that new approaches are needed to sustain the large reductions in crime that Los Angeles has experienced in recent years.

Gascon said that recent improvements in seismic and fire safety have reduced the risks of damage and death from earthquakes and fires.

“The next frontier is going to be crime prevention,” Gascon said. “We know it’s going to take a couple of generations of buildings. But we believe if we start doing this today, 20 to 30 years from now we will have the same type of benefits that have been achieved in the firefighting and earthquake protection arenas.”

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He acknowledged, however, that the proposal could face considerable opposition because it would divert some officers from street patrols.

“It’s going to be highly political,” Gascon predicted. “It’s going to be subject to a great deal of debate in the City Council.”

In addition to such devices as alarms and cameras, buildings would be required to incorporate such features as unobstructed views of parking areas and streets, according to a report issued by Police Chief William J. Bratton.


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