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LAPD and Silver Lake Residents Agree to Work Together More
What became clear at Thursday night's packed community meeting about a rash of street robberies in the Silver Lake and Echo Park communities is that police and the community need to work more closely together. The need has always been there, but after residents felt angry when the city was slow to identify and report crime patterns, they took to the streets and internet with the information they had and spread the word themselves.
In total throughout LAPD's Northeast Division, which also covers communities as far East as Highland Park and Eagle Rock, there were 93 violent crimes, 52 of which that were robberies, between January 4th and 31st. Eleven of those were in the Silver Lake-Echo Park area, known to police as Basic Car A71. The 11 robberies that the basic car experienced was a 175% increase, or 7 more robberies than the same reporting period in 2008, police said last night.
LAPD Captain William Murphy admitted to those in attendance they need to get better at communicating with the public and pledged to so. But he and Councilman Tom Labonge said it was a two way street. "Some of it is on you," Murphy said.
Case in point, during Q&A, some residents described problems that they had known about for weeks but admitted they did not report it to the city. One detective said car break ins are often underreported. "If you're not going to tell your insurance, why would you tell me?" he said urging that residents really need to report all crimes, otherwise police cannot recognize all the crime patterns and focus attention where it needs to be.
But others said they've repeatedly called police for problems that have never gotten solved. "If you're not happy with our service, let us know, otherwise we don't know there is a problem," Murphy responded.
Labonge said they are looking into new ways to do more instant communication and a representative from Councilman Eric Garcetti's office said a needs assessment study is in progress to determine if it would make sense to divide Northeast Division and give the Silver Lake-Echo Park area its own police station. Silver Lake's street layout might be causing slower response times and a lack of presence.
No more large events are planned for the community yet, but a number of neighborhood watch meetings will probably be put together soon.