Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Drew-Estara neighborhood safety a big priority

This evening, about 200 people packed into our Glassell Park field office for a community meeting we sponsored with the U.S. Attorney's Office, the Los Angeles Police Department, the Los Angeles City Attorney's Office and the Los Angeles City Human Relations Commission, among others.

The purpose of the meeting was to have a debriefing for the Northeast Los Angeles community on the action taken in coordinated raids by federal and local law enforcement officials this morning against the Drew Street clique of the Avenues gang that has long-terrorized the area with violence and intimidation.

I want to give my personal thanks to the law enforcement officers that put their lives on the line this morning. Today's action was the result of months of work by LAPD, federal law enforcement officials, federal and city attorneys, community members and our office to take back the Drew-Estara neighborhood through law enforcement action, nuisance abatement proceedings, youth and community development work, and block-by-block organizing.

The Human Relations Commission moderated the meeting beautifully, taking dozens of comments and questions from the audience. Residents expressed their thanks to law enforcement officials and talked about ways to ensure that the gang would not take back the neighborhood in the future. U.S. Attorney Thomas O'Brien said today's action the largest of its kind in the city's history, and pledged to continue serving the remaining warrants and to monitor the gang's criminal actions closely for future prosecutions. Chief Sergio Diaz and Captain Murphy of Northeast Division pledged to continue to push for more arrests as well.

We know that more remains to be done.

It was clear that for today's action to have a long-term impact, it will require ongoing vigilance from law enforcement officials, community members and our office. The commitment from LAPD to have a police substation in the Drew-Estara area for a period of weeks, combined with our ongoing efforts to keep Glassell Park Recreation Center open this summer during night hours and to focus resources in the new Glassell Park-Cypress Park Gang Reduction and Youth Development Zone in partnership with the Mayor's Office are important The City Attorney's ongoing work to abate our nuisance properties and hold landlords and tenants accountable is another important pillar in that strategy. Finally, continuing to engage our parents to take responsibility for the actions of their children and the continuing work of the Aztecs Rising intervention workers at nearby schools will also contribute to growing up a generation of young people who do not turn towards a life of crime and violence.