Larchmont Village residents disturbed over increase in violent crimes
Residents in Larchmont Village are disturbed over a troubling increase in violent crimes plaguing the community.
A meeting was held Saturday to address the issues with the Los Angeles Police Department in attendance. Residents said they don’t feel safe anymore and are demanding a solution.
“We have for months, actually more than a year, been reporting various break-ins and forced entries as a community,” an attendee said.
Officers from LAPD’s Olympic Division were onsite answering questions and addressing citizen concerns following a series of break-ins, robberies and other violent incidents over the past few months.
“Unless we do something about it soon, it’s only going to continue to grow,” said Cole Smith, a local resident.
LAPD said they’re struggling to keep officers on staff while also running into issues hiring new officers.
“We have been challenged, quite frankly, across the United States in recruiting and in the number of qualified individuals coming on board who want to do this profession,” Ponce explained.
For the first time in decades, LAPD has less than 9,000 officers patrolling a city of roughly 3.8 million people. The shortage has forced the department to cut back on some services such as responding to non-violent crimes.
Jules Kohn, a Larchmont Village resident said crime is expected when one lives in a large city.
“You’re going to get that in any big, dense city,” Kohn said. “But you can also see when there’s an uphill trend and when there should probably be something done about it.”
Some residents however set the crime in L.A. is not as bad as it seems.
“It doesn’t strike me as a big issue facing the city,” said Jack Cairl, a Larchmont Village local. “Violent crime is down, property damage is up. Do we need more police? It’s a huge part of our budget. And when the police say we need more officers, that’s not helpful either because the budget just keeps expanding.”
Ponce said the LAPD is actively recruiting more officers. He insists police will always make public safety a priority, but said citizens also need to do their part.
“We need our communities as resources,” Ponce said. “Ours are limited and dwindled somewhat. We need our communities to help us be our eyes and ears to keep our community safe.”
Some residents also complained about slow police response times while others believed non-violent crimes should be prosecuted more severely.