“If anyone had doubts about Chief William Bratton’s ability to make LAPD more effective than Bernard Parks ever did, here’s the proof: Part 1 (violent) crimes are down again for the fourth year in a row.”
“But unless he gets more money for more officers, Bratton warns, he can’t hold the downward trend to an 8% drop every year.”
Let’s look at that number for a second, according to the public COMPstat numbers, violent crime is not down 8%, property crimes are down 8%. Violent crime is only down 2% as whole, but some categories, like robberies are actually up 6% from last year. Additionally prior to 2005 Child/Spousal Simple Assaults were included in aggravated assaults which skews things a bit as well. So it’s not all flowers and sunshine. Of course this isn’t a Los Angeles specific issue. According to the Attorney General’s office violent crime is actually rising in the states largest cities. Those would be cities like Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego – the cities that actively make it hard for law abiding citizens to defend themselves (more on that in a moment). So here we have Chief Bratton saying that unless he gets more funding to hire more officers he can’t keep crime down. San Diego is facing similar problems and at a recent protest of law enforcement funding cuts officers were holding signs saying “Don’t visit San Diego. It’s not safe” and “When seconds count, we are minutes away.” Mack ends his post asking:
“Does your neighborhood feel safer than it did in 2002? Do you think more officers on patrol will make a difference?”
All very valid questions in my book, and ones that don’t really have clear answers. If my next door neighbor is mugged tomorrow my neighborhood will certain feel less safe after the fact, but is it any more safe a day prior? This brings up another very valid question a friend of mine recently asked in reference to California’s concealed weapon laws – Why are the law abiding citizens of California not afforded the same trust as those of the more than forty shall-issue states? But it’s more specific than that because in much of rural California they are. So we’re back to the major cities again, the same ones with rising violent crime rates and shortages of law enforcement.
Let me explain this a bit further – In most of the country, and in fact in a large portion of California if you live in a less than safe area or perhaps your job takes you through some more dangerous areas (such as Compton here in LA where murder rates continue to rise) law abiding citizens can, after passing a background check and taking required training courses apply for, and receive, a license to carry a concealed firearm that could potentially protect them in a time when there was no law enforcement there to do the job for them. This is the case in every state that borders California – in fact to reach another state that isn’t like this you have to cross five states to reach Illinois, or 2400 miles of ocean to reach Hawaii.
Many counties surrounding LA, such as Kern or Orange have similar policies but state law leaves the official policy in the hands of the county Sheriffs. Different Sheriffs have different policies and in Los Angeles the policy is that you have to have documented prior warning of a threat that law enforcement can’t protect you from. Basically the guy who is planning on mugging you would need to let you know, in advance and in writing, that he’s planning to do so. Doesn’t sound likely does it. Let’s go back to those COMPstat numbers – how many victims of this years 26,469 violent crimes here in LA had documented warning that those crimes were going to take place?
There are less than 400 of these permits issued in Los Angeles county due to this policy, meanwhile neighboring counties have issued thousands. There are more people in LA, and more crime in LA. Why are those of us who who live in Los Angeles not given the same trust by our elected officials as people who live one county over?
The fact of the matter is that when law abiding citizens are trusted, and given the means to defend themselves crime goes down. And taking that means away from them does not make things any better. Perhaps the problem in LA and other major cities in California isn’t that there aren’t enough officers on the streets to protect the citizens, but that the citizens aren’t allowed to protect themselves.