(Nov. 1, 2006) -- Focusing on parts of North Long Beach with multiple enforcement actions, an array of Long Beach city agencies, including LBPD, undertook a large-scale "Clean Streets" operation encompassing parts of the 8th and 9th Council districts on November 1.
From dawn through early evening, the area from Del Amo Blvd. to Artesia Blvd. and Orange Ave. to LB Blvd. saw a heightened police presence...and that was just the tip of the iceberg.
Enforcement actions were conducted by LBPD, LBFD, Planning & Bldg, City Prosecutor, Public Works, Parks & Rec, City Mgr's Office, Health & Human Services, City Att'y, Community Development & Housing Authority. The actions included Gang & Drug Enforcement, Building Code Enforcement, Nuisance Property Action, Truancy Enforcement, Parole & Probation Searches, Street Repair, Graffiti Removal & Alley & Street Clean-Ups.
"In recent weeks, North Division has experienced an increase in the number of violent crimes including shootings involving gang members and street robberies. In response, a plan was designed to address these problems through proactive enforcement," said a flier distributed by LB city staff.
Outside a former burger stand and adjacent tire outlet on Artesia Blvd. just east of Atlantic Ave., Commander Robertson provided a midmorning briefing for L.A. and LB media outlets.
Offering kudos to LBPD and city management: 8th dist. Councilwoman Rae Gabelich.
"This project was started...at the urging of Councilwoman Gabelich, who noticed along with us the increase in gang violence and deterioration...and the project was as a result of her urging and support from other Councilmembers including [9th district Councilman] Val Lerch," said Commander Robertson..
Councilwoman Gabelich said, "I'd like to add that it was certainly efforts by Val, and mine, together with Redevelopment [LB Redevelopment Agency]. We have Redevelopment efforts coming up here to the north part of our city, and we're going to have millions and millions of dollars or new construction and new activity. And I went to our City Manager, Mr. Miller, and said we need to do something. You can't go in there and build the pretty new buildings without taking care of the neighborhoods that are blighted, where there is crime at high levels, and people that are fearful of coming outdoors in the middle of the day. We have to go in there and clean up the neighborhoods. And so with the effort of everybody, from the City Manager on down, every Department is represented here today...It's really been a partnership among all of the Departments and all of the people that are working so hard today to help make a difference in this part of our city."
9th district Councilman Val Lerch, whose full-time job precluded his attendance, was represented by Field Rep Jerry Caligiuri...who said the NLB Councilman was delighted with the operation. "He's excited. He's on Cloud 9 right now," Mr. Caligiuri said, and added: "We're pleased that these buildings are being demolished...We're looking at leveling this and actually putting some new 'sit-down' restaurants here, to add to the quality of life up here."
Commander Robertson told LBReport.com that three core areas of NLB were selected for the operation: the NW corner of LB (roughly LB Blvd. south of Greenleaf), the area roughly in the vicinity of Artesia/Atlantic and an area to the south starting at about the RR tracks and going north. He indicated that over 100 LB police officers were involved in the operation...and when city staffers were included, the total city presence could be [estimate] roughly 275 people.
"From the time this morning at 7 o'clock when the SWAT team did their first warrant, until tonight at 8 o'clock when our Vice Officers are going to be out on the street arresting prostitutes, there's going to be a whole string of it [enforcement activities] starting at different times," Commander Robertson said.
At the media briefing, a reporter asked, "What will this do for your part of the city?" Councilwoman Gabelich replied, "It's going to send a message that we're here, and we're here to stay, and we're not going to tolerate [the negative activities] anymore."
Commander Robertson indicated that a number of arrests had been made and more were expected. A final count isn't available as we post but is believed to be significant.
After briefing the media, Commander Robertson donned a hard hat, hopped aboard a bulldozer and began tearing down a structure on property purchased by LB's Redevelopment Agency.
NLB activist Dave San Jose and Councilwoman Gabelich liked what they saw. Also attending (though not in photo), NLB RDA activist Martha Thuente.
LB Redevelopment Agency project coordinator Lee Mayfield told LBReport.com that RDA had purchased the property and new, upgraded development will appear on the site.
A City Hall release indicates LBUSD, the CA Dept. of Corrections, L.A. County Probation & L.A. County Sheriffs lent support for the extensive operation.
A City Hall release said the goals of the "Clean Streets" operation include impacting violent crime and improving quality of life.