Another blackeye for the LAPD?

http://blogging.la/archives/images/2006/07/pershingtapedoff-thumb.jpgSince 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?

(image by Eric Richardson who’s probably been unable to blog this update because he’s off getting married… more photos of a taped off Pershing Square here via Flickr)

6 Replies to “Another blackeye for the LAPD?”

  1. It is intersting that you mention this because our night out with the LAPD will be in pershing square tonite.

    I will tell you how this goes.

  2. LAPD Van Nuys Division had a gang problem at the Van Nuys/Sherman Oaks Park. What did they do? They took all overnight street parking on the perimeter of the park away (not across the street though). The problem decreased drastically.

  3. Zach, my beef isn’t with the closure. Its with the LAPD snowballing everyone who’s asking what’s going on. They should either have explained why they were closing off portions of the park, or said it was part of a top secret police plan… but to claim ignorance and pass people back and forth to the Parks department is lame.

  4. my beef isn’t with the closure…but to claim ignorance and pass people back and forth to the Parks department is lame

    I think both of those things are pretty lame. Even if they had publically announced from the start that they were closing off the park to reduce crime it still seems like a pretty silly solution to moi.

  5. it is a little disconcerting that LAPD can’t maintain order in a teensy park with very, very little in it to obstruct public view. I mean, c’mon, it’s not central or golden gate park with trees and groves shading shady deals. It’s pink concrete tampons and purple orbs and a few squares of grass overlooked by a world class hotel and sitting over a popular parking garage.

    sheesh – doesn’t inspire confidence about keeping things safe where logistics might actually be difficult.

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