Since May 1st, Blogdowtown’s Eric Richardson has been trying to solve the mystery as to why most of Pershing Square has been closed off to the public. In spite of dilligent investigation, he continued to get the run around. (image is of the park’s cordoned off areas)
If you ask Parks & Rec they’ll tell you LAPD put the tape up to combat drug dealing. If you talk to LAPD they’ll tell you that the park asked them to put the tape up. (from Blogdowntown’s “Pershing Square Tape Watch”)
Today, LA Downtown News Online finally brings an answer:
Officials from the Los Angeles Police Department and a private security firm hired by the city said the closure was part of an effort to keep crime out of Pershing Square.
“The reason why we closed it was in response to people’s complaints about crime in the area,” Central Division Police Capt. Andy Smith said. The goal, he added, was to discourage criminals and drug addicts from using the park so that once the tape came off, the area would be cleaner and safer. (full article)
Creative actions to curb crime should be applauded and encouraged. However, it appears that for nearly three months the LAPD deliberately and repeatedly misinformed the public in this effort. Without a doubt, this creates mistrust of our law enforcement and public officials, all in the name of “good intentions”.
While city officials, and even the LAPD itself, encourage Los Angeles residents to become more involved and aware of their neighborhoods and local government, the police apparently decided to deceive some of downtown’s most vocal supporters. If residents can’t trust their local law enforcement on an issue as simple as why they can’t use a local park, when can we believe them?