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Criminal Justice

Survey: Majority of Latinos In LA Want To See Police Funding Stay The Same Or Increase

A police officer wearing a helmet and visor holds a police baton as a crowd of protestors walk by holding cardboard signs on a street in downtown Los Angeles. In the background is another officer also wearing a dark uniform, facing the protestors in front of a police squad car.
Protesters in downtown L.A. march past LAPD officers during a demonstration over the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
(KYLE GRILLOT/AFP via Getty Images
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An overwhelming majority of the Latino community in Los Angeles wants to see police funding either remain the same or increase, according to a new survey.

Nearly half of Latino Angelenos surveyed want to see police funding largely hold steady, while one-third of those polled want to see funding increase, but there are plenty of nuances even within those numbers, according to Rafe Sonenshein, executive director of Cal State L.A.’s Pat Brown Institute, which conducted the survey along with the California Community Foundation.

“We didn't find much support in the survey for what's called defunding the police,” Sonenshein said on our newsroom’s public affairs program, AirTalk. “In fact, the largest majority of people said keep policing levels the same … You can be both afraid of crime and believe in police reform.”

Angelica Salas of the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights said the survey results make sense, as many Latinos live in higher-crime neighborhoods.

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“Our community is living in this duality of being victims of crime and also victims of law enforcement,” Salas told LAist’s Frank Stoltze.

The sentiment was echoed in President Joe Biden's State of the Union Address last night.

"The answer is not to defund the police," Biden said. “it’s to give you the tools, the training, the funding to be partners, to be protectors and the community needs you, know the community.”

The survey also showed that one-fifth of the Latino population polled wants to see police funding cut. Most of that group is under the age of 35.

Responses were gathered for the report between Nov. 8 and Dec. 24, 2021 — right as the omicron surge began to take hold in the Southland.

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It came as no surprise, then, that 54% of those polled found that the COVID-19 pandemic was the most important problem facing Los Angeles. The next two largest areas of concern were “jobs and the economy” (46%) and “homelessness” (50%).

Click here for the full survey and response breakdown and here for the data visualization presentation on the findings. 

What questions do you have about criminal justice and public safety in Southern California?
Frank Stoltze covers a new movement for criminal justice reform at a time when not everybody shares the same vision.