Latest LB "Ghost Shooting": Overnight 1100 block E. 4th St. (Orange Ave. near Senior Center)

Witness sees man fire handgun at passing vehicles; residents hear it; shooter vanishes...while LB Council fails to fund/deploy digital ShotSpotter 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.
(April 11, 2019, 8:55 a.m.) -- Neighborhood residents heard the gunfire and called LBPD. Some also said on social media that they heard it. LBPD officers responded at about 2:15 a.m. to the 1100 block of E. 4th St. (near Orange Ave, vicinity of Senior Center, 2nd dist.) and found a witness who said a man (adult) had fired a handgun at passing vehicles (source: LBPD morning Watch Commander Mike Solomita.)

Responding officers were unable to find evidence of a shooting or any property or persons struck. The shooter is "in the wind" (vanished.)

Jan 1, 2018 to date: Red Xs=homicides; Blue Xs= shootings, person wounded; Brown Xs=shots fired at victim(s), not hit; Purple Xs=shots at occupied residence/vehicle; Green Xs= shots at unoccupied vehicle/residence; Grey Xs=shots fired (no hit, no target identified); Orange X's=non-fatal stabbings; Blue * asterisk=victim hit, police unable to locate crime scene. Map is unofficial.

For context, provides a map below showing cumulated shootings in the area Jan. 1, 2014-Dec. 31, 2017

[Scroll down for further.]


What happened this morning is the latest [ term] Long Beach "ghost" shooting: gunfire reported by multiple residents but not included in LBPD's officially released crime stats. LB "ghost shootings" happen even when (unlike here) there's physical evidence documenting that they happened, in one case striking and wounding a 10 year old child.

On New Year's 2018, a 10 year old girl was struck by a falling bullet (an X-ray showed the bullet lodged in her arm requiring surgical removal.) A few days later, ABC7 came to the neighborhood (1000 Lewis Ave., just north of 10th St., west of Alamitos Ave.) to interview the mother and child, and reporter Miriam Hernandez and her camera crew captured the sound of a gunshot fired nearby while the ABC7 camera was rolling. ABC7 reporter Hernandez told at the time: "LBPD responded to our call re: shot fired. We saw them take information from a neighbor...there was a patrol car and later two motorcycle officers who we saw parked at the next building. There is definitely a record of officer's visit." But no suspect. No physical evidence recovered at the scene by officers,

In other words, the gunfire was seen and heard by potentially millions of people in America's second largest media market, but in LB crime stats (that LB elected officials like to cite), they didn't happen.



It happened again in December 2018 in the Wrigley district, when LBPD received telephone calls from multiple residents reporting overnight gunfire in the 3100 block of Chestnut Ave-to-Magnolia Ave. and the area of Spring St./DeForest Ave. (locations about half a mile due west.) After daybreak, a resident of the 3100 block of Chestnut Ave. spotted bullet casings and turned them over to police. Again, in LB's statistical world (cited by LB politicians) the shots didn't happen and aren't included in LBPD's officially released crime statistics.


For several years, LB Mayor Robert Garcia (who recommends city budgets) and Councilmembers (who approve them) have declined to fund a digital gunfire location system (such as "ShotSpotter") that could within seconds identify the location of gunfire. Proponents of the system say it would help LBPD respond quickly and spot and apprehend those firing the guns. Of course, such a system would also document the number and locations of gunfire, making it harder for elected officials to claim that "data" show crime is "down." Under LB City Hall's current practice: there's no data, thus no gunfire.

Even when Long Beach shootings are officially acknowledged and counted, the number of shootings remains statistically fogged, grouped within the umbrella category of "aggravated assaults." That practice fully complies with federal bureaucratic crime reporting standards, but leaves LB residents without city-accessible data on how many shootings occurred, where they occurred and if they're increasing or decreasing. Federal rules don't require any city to hide the number of its shootings; LAPD does periodically tally its shooting numbers for the public. LAPD's crime stat updates for the public do separately list "shots fired" and "shooting victims" (see line items on this page on LAPD's website).

Amnesia File:

On Oct. 4, 2011, then-Councilman (now Mayor) Garcia (joined by then-Councilmembers O'Donnell, DeLong and incumbent Andrews) proposed allocating $350,000 in oil revenue to fund shotspotter gunfire location technology using $350,000 from uplands oil revenue. Their agendizing memo stated "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." The Council approved the item but after nearly a year with no shotspotter deployment, in November 2012 then-Vice Mayor Garcia and then-Councilman O'Donnell agendized an item to erase the shotspotter funding...and use the one-time oil revenue to plug a budget hole and cover LBPD overtime. In their Nov. 2012 memo, Garcia and O'Donnell wrote:

After analysis by City Management and the LBPD, it has been determined that ShotSpotter's technology does not currently meet the public safety needs of the City. Further, it has been concluded that a gunfire detection technology that is compatible with the City's landscape does not currently exist with any vendor. At this time, the existing funds will not be used to purchase or subscribe to this type of program...



The issue has created a friendly difference of opinion between publisher Bill Pearl and now-retired LBPD Administration Bureau Chief Braden Phillips. Several months ago, we greeted each other at an event and Pearl quipped, "And we still don't have ShotSpotter" to which Mr. Phillips swiftly replied, "Yes, they use it in Chicago and look what's happening there."

In our opinion, expecting a digital device to stop Chicago's shootings asks too much, but it doesn't ask too much for Long Beach, a city claiming to be digitally advanced and boasting an "open data" policy, for LB's Mayor and City Council to agendize an item that (1) asks LBPD to publicly list shooting data (as LAPD does) and (2) to fund ShotSpotter that would document shootings that are currently "ghost shootings."

When a variable isn't measured, it makes it harder to change. Until Long Beach shootings are accurately measured, residents in gunfire-impacted Long Beach neighborhoods will continue to see, hear and endure "ghost" shootings.

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