Wrigley Area Advocates McDonald & Greenfeld-Wisner Describe Crime Impacts At Council's Public Safety Committee, Urge Replenishment Police Academy


(June 14, 2012) -- In polite but plainly spoken terms, two Wrigley neighborhood advocates have told the City Council's Public Safety Committee (Garcia, Schipske, Johnson) that crimes in their area have impacted area businesses and urged funding a replenishment police academy class to halt officer attrition created by Council majorities that "balanced" City Hall's spending vs. revenue in part by eliminating 168 sworn officer positions, a 17% reduction over three budget years.

At the Committee's June 12 meeting, following an LBPD management presentation of citywide crime stats (that don't show geographic impacts), longtime Wrigley area advocate Colleen McDonald came to the speakers' podium and in a calm tone stated in pertinent part:

Ms. McDonald: I'm just here to support [LBPD management's] call for a police academy in the next year in 2013. I live in Wrigley, Councilman Johnson you're well aware of where I live...

I'm here to advocate on behalf of more police especially assigned to our business district of Pacific Ave. Right now, the only way a businessman sees anybody from the police is when they make a call for service. Many times they don't make it because they don't feel like there's a good response.

I talked today to somebody who owns two large businesses...Neither one is thriving. Both places are impacted quite a bit by the lack of community support because Pacific Ave. quite frankly is not a safe place to go.

There have been assaults in the store that they don't report. A couple of weeks ago somebody was beaten nearly to death across the street.

Last year when I had a neighborhood clean-up right across the street. It ended when we saw somebody being beaten up directly across from where we were holding our neighborhood clean-up. We had lots of resources out there. That doesn't really deter the element victimizes our business district.

So I'm just pleading that you find a way to fund another police academy to build our police department back up to the levels that this city needs, that we deserve, that our taxes pay for...

Thank you for the fine job you do, LBPD, especially the West Division. They do much more than I could have expected when I heard how small the staffing level is on a shift basis.

Ms. Greenfeld-Wisner testified in pertinent part:

...I have to say that anything that happens is not the fault of Long Beach Police Department. The Police Department does what they can with what they have...Our levels of staffing are absolutely ridiculous. Less than it was 15 years ago. The crime stats are horrendous. If crime is up that far in the East Division, how high do you think crime is in West? Cause it's not less...

...[T]he residents have stepped up. They help the Police Department as much as they can. I need to see city management and the City Council and the Mayor step up and increase our police levels. You know I've kept quiet up until now because I expected that this would have been done already...The only reason that our 2010 crime decreased is because we had "Weed and Seed" [federally funded program] and they were paying for overtime for the officers in the West Division. We were all working so hard. Now without "Weed and Seed" everything's going back to the way it was...

The Wrigley area is represented by Councilmembers Dee Andrews and James Johnson, both of whom voted (Andrews since 2009, Johnson since 2010) for the police cuts.


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