Shots Fired (Again) In Long Beach Neighborhood Left These Bullet Casings Found By Resident; Gunfire-Location Technology Could Have Told Cops Shooting Site In Seconds To Help Nab Shooters, But Long Beach Politicians Evade It, Because... is reader and advertiser supported. Support independent news in LB similar to the way people support NPR and PBS stations. We're not non-profit so it's not tax deductible but $49.95 (less than an annual dollar a week) helps keep us online.
(Dec. 20, 2018) -- About 1:30 a.m. Dec. 19, a resident of Long Beach's Wrigley neighborhood heard five to eight gunshots. He lives in the 3100 block of Chestnut Ave., basically two miles due north of Long Beach City Hall His neighbors also heard the gunfire and a neighbor phoned LBPD. An officer responded but didn't spot the casings in the dark. After daybreak, the first resident spotted the casings, retrieved them from the street and photographed them.

The resident called LBPD a second time and an officer came out a second time. The officer determined that no persons were hit (no shooting victims reported at local hospitals) and found no property damaged. The shooter is still at large where he can do it again.

Gunfire like this happens too often, goes undocumented too often and thus evades inclusion in LBPD federally reported crime stats too often because Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia and City Councilmembers refuse to fund and deploy digitally smart gunfire location technology that within seconds would tell police exactly where and when gunfire happens.

LB's self-described data-driven Mayor doesn't want data documenting how much gunfire really occurs in his city. LB Council incumbents don't want data showing it's in their neighborhoods. They prefer to have police officers come to neighborhood meetings and recite crime stats that don't include gunfire that neighbors routinely hear.

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Gunfire location technology would also expose how recklessly thin LB's current Mayor and Council have left our city's thin blue line. Even the best technology requires officers to respond, and LB taxpayers don't have 186 citywide deployable police officers that our city previously had. That's because LB Mayor Garcia and his supportive Councilmembers have failed to restore them, despite receiving $50+ million more each year by LB taxpayers voting to double LB's sales tax rate (now tied as the highest in CA.) To date, Mayor Garcia has recommended, and LB Council has voted, to restore a total of 22 out of 208 citywide deployable officers that then-Councilmembers Garcia and Andrews voted to erase under former Mayor Foster (roughly 20% of LBPD's citywide deployable level, including LBPD's former field anti-gang unit.). Other surrounding cities didn't do anything of this magnitude to weather "the great recession."

The result has left LB taxpayers with the recklessly thin per capita police level visible on the chart here.

It's been nearly two years since wrote the following:

(Jan. 5, 2017, 4:10 p.m.) -- Overnight shortly before midnight (Jan 4 into Jan. 5), a number of Wrigley residents say they heard gunfire (again), reported it to police (again) and wrote about it on Facebook (again). Some examples:

[Facebook text]

  • Gunshots? I'm on Hill and Magnolia.
  • Heard them too!! A lot actually I'm in mag and 21st.
  • 20th and Chestnut shots fired 7x (listening to police scanner).
  • Yep I knew it.
  • Sounded like that to me.
  • I don't hear the cops. Oh well.
  • Still no sign of cops.. where is the helicopter when you need one!! So scary.
  • I heard them too I heard about five or six gunshots and then there was silence and then one more shot, almost like it was the coup de grace.
  • There goes a siren ??
  • I hope everything's ok and no one is seriously injured.. well hello 2017 ??...
  • asked LBPD about this. [An LBPD PIO told us] LBPD received a call of shots heard in the area of the 1900 block of Chestnut Ave. Officers responded and weren't able to locate any evidence of a shooting.

    We're quite sure that's all true...but we also presume that Wrigley residents didn't hallucinate the gunfire. As a result, we assume the shooter(s) likely remains on the street and he can repeat last night's gunfire in the coming days and weeks. ...For this, the Long Beach City Council arguably deserves a share of responsibility for voting in 2012 to erase funding for gunfire location technology that a number of other cities use and LB's Council voted to fund in 2011.

    Within seconds of shots fired, police in cities including San Francisco, Oakland, Chicago and Kansas City see the type of thing displayed below...and the ShotSpotter system can tell the difference between gunfire and fireworks.

    Image source:

    In contrast, Long Beach continues to rely on a primitive method basically unchanged from the previous century. A resident(s) must pick up the phone, call LBPD, report what he/she thinks is gunfire, guesses from where it came, and officers are dispatched to the area to try and find a victim(s), damaged property or bullet casings.

    Why is this happening in Long Beach whose politicians claim to be technologically innovative?

    Amnesia File: ShotSpotter

    On October 4, 2011, the City Council adopted an item by then-Councilman Robert Garcia (joined by Councilmembers O'Donnell, DeLong and Andrews) that allocated oil revenue to fund items including [Oct. 2011 agendizing memo text] "ShotSpotter System: $350,000. The ShotSpotter gunshot detection system would be a valuable tool to assist the Police Department in responding to gun incidents and other types of crime."

    However Long Beach PD never deployed the gunfire location system. Instead, a little over a year later on November 13, 2012, Garcia joined in a 7-0 Council vote (Andrews exited early, DeLong absent for entire meeting) to erase budgeted funding for gunfire location technology.

    The excuse offered at the time was that the $350,000 would be better spent for PD overtime (although only weeks earlier the Council had budgeted a sum supposedly sufficient for LBPD purposes.) Then-LBPD Chief Jim McDonnell also said the $350,000 budgeted from oil money would cover only small portion of the city with ShotSpotter, less than what's needed, for a pilot project.

    Shortly before the Council erased funding for a gunfire location system, LBPD management gave this explanation:

    [Oct. 25, 2012 LBPD Admin Bureau Chief Braden Phillips email text] "The City of Long Beach remains interested in acquiring a gunfire detection technology. City Management and the Police Department have engaged in exploratory discussions with various vendors who provide the technology to discuss goals and constraints that may factor into the City's decision to invest in a product. These meetings have been invaluable in the search for a system that will be compatible with the City's sprawling urban environment. At this time, a gunfire detection technology that meets these preliminary objectives does not exist. Long Beach will continue to actively monitor this emerging technology for future use in the City."

    But all of this was before LB residents voted in June 2016 to approve a "blank check" sales tax increase ("Measure A"), raising LB's sales tax to the highest among neighboring cities and among the highest statewide, based on the following ballot title and text:

    "[All caps in original] CITY OF LONG BEACH PUBLIC SAFETY, INFRASTRUCTURE REPAIR AND NEIGHBORHOOD SERVICES MEASURE. To maintain 911 emergency response services; increase police, firefighter/paramedic staffing; repair potholes/streets; improve water supplies; and maintain general services.

    It's been over seven years since then-Councilman Garcia supported funding gunfire location technology, over six years since he rationalized reversing himself to spend the money elsewhere and LBPD management completed the baloney sandwich by claiming sufficient technology didn't exist. It's been nearly two years since City Hall begun collecting over $50 million each year from the highest sales tax rate in CA (tied with only a few other cities) and since wrote the editorial above. During that period, to our knowledge not one LB neighborhood group in an area disproportionately impacted by gunfire has publicly called on their elected Councilmember(s) to agendize an item to fund and deploy Shotspotter or other gunfire location technology.

    As W.C. Fields once quipped (while playing an unscrupulous carnival owner): "It baffles science."

    ShotSpotter has a robust website at this link. Agendize the issue for discussion at your next neighborhood group meeting. Use a laptop at your meeting to display ShotSpotter's pages and videos. Yes, it's a sales pitch so it's fair to read it critically. But if you're persuaded it's overdue to pursue this, vote on a motion that calls on your Councilmember to supports funding and deploying gunfire location technology and calls on him/her to agendize the issue for Council discussion and action at the soonest available City Council meeting. Your Councilmember may not like that but it shouldn't matter to you. Your Councilmember is supposed to answer to you, not vice versa.

    If you expect resistance from your Councilmember, feel free to invite publisher Bill Pearl to attend your meeting, where we can deliver a presentation detailing his/her record on restoring police for taxpayers while supporting increased taxes and voting to spend sizable sums on items we can enumerate.

    Facts are stubborn things...just like that gunfire you continue to hear and those bullet casings found in Wrigley.

    Happy New Year.

    Opinions expressed by, our contributors and/or our readers are not necessary those of our advertisers. We welcome our readers' comments/opinions 24/7 via Disqus, Facebook and moderate length letters and longer-form op-ed pieces submitted to us at






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