The NLB double murder has shocked and angered the community. Two candlelight vigils have been held and at the October 2 City Council meeting, NLB activist Dave San Jose likened the crime to a terrorist attack. "These were urban terrorists [who] murdered for greed," Mr. San Jose said.
9th district Councilman Jerry Shultz praised the two murdered brothers as "gentlemen [who] worked long, hard hours to make their business thrive. And it was a good business there on Long Beach Blvd. And they were involved in the neighborhood, and they were the type of businessmen that we'd like to see all over this city. And the cowards who did this [murder] are still out there and I can assure the neighborhood that the police department is going to do whatever they can and use all resources they have at their disposal to track down those who did it."
As previously reported by LBReport.com, LBPD's mid year 2001 crime data showed total reported crime had increased in every LB City Council district. It also showed the 9th district had the 2d highest number of murders, 3d highest total reported crimes, 3d highest total serious crimes against persons and 3d highest total serious crimes against property (all three totals up from same period last year.) To view details of LB's 2001 midyear crime data by Council district, click here.]
Ten days before the murder, at the September 18 Council meeting, Mr. John Deats, a retired member and former chair of LB's Public Safety Advisory Commission, criticized the Council for failing to budget at least 2.0 officers per thousand residents for LB taxpayers. The City Council currently provides LB taxpayers with a thinner budgeted police level than L.A. (which budgets over 2.0 officers per thousand residents) and Signal Hill (which budgets closer to 3.0 officers per thousand residents).
Councilmembers effectively decide how many police officers LB provides for its residents and businesses; LBPD can only deploy officers that the Council has budgeted to employ.
Following Mr. Deats' comments, and polite but unsupportive comments by the City Manager, Councilman Shultz said:
The crime rate has been creeping up across the country, and across most cities in California. In fact Time magazine had a special story on the whole issue about three weeks ago, and they're not quite sure why, but it isn't just Long Beach, it's going up across the board. It'd be an interesting trend to watch in the next month but it certainly isn't localized to our city.
For several years, Councilman Shultz has chaired the City Council's Public Safety Committee. For much of this period, LB crime has generally declined and Councilman Shultz has chosen not to hold hearings in his committee to discuss budgeted police levels and police staffing strength for taxpayers, despite the city's increasing population and the Council's approval of new developments and density.
During this year's Council's budget discussions, despite the increased police workload likely to result from increased security needs, no incumbent Councilmember proposed increasing officers beyond the level proposed by the City Manager before the terror attacks.
The City Manager proposed (and the Council adopted without change) budgeting for 913 officers, a level equating to roughly 1.98 officers per thousand residents.