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Council Sets "Study Sssion" (April 20, 5:30 p.m.) On "Strategies For Addressing Violent Crime." Will We Hear Chief Luna Reiterate His March Memo Blaming Pandemic, Not Council-Thinned Police Levels, For Increased Shootings?

His memo didn't mention word "gangs," or acknowledge Mayor/Council actions that erased 20% of LB's police level and failed to restore field anti-gang unit



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(April 19, 2021, 8:25 a.m.) -- The City Council is scheduled to hold a "study session" (5:30 p.m. durng its April 20 meeting) hear what it calls "Strategies for Addressing Violent Crime."

There's no written material accompanying the agenda item (allowing the public to study and prepare comments on what's being studied) but we expect to hear Long Beach Police Chief Robert Luna reiterate his March 17 memo (previously reported by LBREPORT.com here) blaming the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, not Council-thinned police levels. Council budget actions between 2009-2014, worsened by a Sept. 2020 defunding, have collectively left LB taxpayers with roughly 20% fewer police officers than the City previously provided.

"We believe the possible cause for these crime increases are [sic] related to the serious impacts on the criminal justice system and our community resulting from the COVID pandemic," Chief Luna wrote. "Prisons and jails have released large numbers of inmates to reduce the risk of exposure; more repeat offenders are being released on bail; trials and other court proceedings have experienced significant delays; school closures and lack of programming has negatively impacted youth engagement; and, with a record number of gun sales in 2020, there are more guns on the street. The pandemic has also created an inability for the Police Department (Department) to engage our community in person, which has negatively impacted our community policing efforts."

The Council, which determines police levels for taxpayers when it adopts City Hall's annual budget, requested Chief Luna's March 17 memo on February 2, prompted by increased shootings. Councilmembers sought a report "within 30 days on violent and quality-of-life crime in Long Beach with an overview of incidents and trends, an outline of current efforts and opportunities to address violence in highly-impacted neighborhoods, and a plan of action to meet the need for safety in all of our communities."

The resulting memo doesn't mention the word "gangs." Or acknowledge policy actions by prior and current Mayors/Councils that have collectively erased over 200 police officers, including LBPD's former field anti-gang unit, that the City previously had,.

The Chief's memo, titled "Strategies for Addressing Violent Crime" doesn't mention LBPD's practice (without Council objection) of failing to publicly list shootings in LB's official crime statistics (which LAPD does.) Or the City's failure (without Council objection) to provide the crime stats that list serious (Part 1) crimes against persons and property by Council districts (allowing quick comparison of conditions in various Council districts,)

Chief Luna's memo states in pertinent part: .




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In response to the recent shootings, the Department has also implemented an additional strategy to be incorporated into our long -term violence prevention efforts. In February 2021, we reassigned employees away from their primary assignments to create a Coordinated Response Team (CRT). This temporary team is comprised of detectives, patrol officers, a divisional crime analyst, a public information officer, and a forensic science specialist. The CRT meets daily to discuss strategies for impacting violent crime with a focus on gun violence, prohibited possessors, "ghost guns," and the identification of drivers that are contributing to the increase in violent crime. The CRT is also responsible for assisting division commanders in conducting community engagement and neighborhood awareness related to our public safety efforts. The team has experienced success in arresting violent offenders prohibited from possessing firearms, and the recovery of weapons found in their possession. This strategy includes working with our federal law enforcement partners including the FBI, the ATF, and the U.S. Marshals. From January 1, 2021 to February 19, 2021, the city had 85 shootings citywide. Since implementing the CRT, we have seen an 81 percent decrease in firearm assaults. The proactive efforts of the CRT team have led to the arrest of 9 prohibited firearm possessors and the recovery of 13 firearms, 2 of which were ghost guns.

In addition to responding to the increase in shootings citywide, we are focusing resources in the Washington Middle School neighborhood. In response to an increase in shootings in the first month of this year in that area, we implemented a Neighborhood Walks Pilot Program. This program, which is supported through NSS funding, allows officers assigned to specific beats to walk those beats allowing them to interact with people who are living and working in the area while additional officers answer calls for service. Since the programís implementation, there have been no reported shooting incidents in the area.

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Long Beach City Councilmembers provide taxpayers with a significantly thinner police level than provided by City Councils in Los Angeles, Signal Hill and Santa Monica.


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Long Beach shootings disproportionately impact mainly working class and historically disadvantaged neighborhoods. LBREPORT.com has editorially deplored the de facto geographically segregated crime conditions as a chronic inequity, an unjust "tale of two cities."

Shootings since Jan. 1, 2021
Red = Homicides. Blue = Persons hit. Yellow = Casings found or vehicle or bldg hit

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In Depth / Amnesia File: Long Beach Had But No Longer Has An LBPD Field Anti-Gang Unit. How'd That Happen?


Support really independent news in Long Beach. No one in LBREPORT.com's ownership, reporting or editorial decision-making has ties to development interests, advocacy groups or other special interests; or is seeking or receiving benefits of City development-related decisions; or holds a City Hall appointive position; or has contributed sums to political campaigns for Long Beach incumbents or challengers. LBREPORT.com isn't part of an out of town corporate cluster and no one its ownership, editorial or publishing decisionmaking has been part of the governing board of any City government body or other entity on whose policies we report. LBREPORT.com is reader and advertiser supported. You can help keep really 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.


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