DEEGAN ON LA—Perps walking free is the cornerstone issue that may give undecided CD-5 voters a reason to vote for Sam Yebri in the June 7 primary election.
He is against the lax consequences of prosecution for criminals which have become a key issue as voters prepare to cast their ballots.
Although this is a citywide problem, Yebri notes the impact in CD-5, saying that “the explosion of violent crime and gun violence in CD-5 is undeniable. In the Wilshire Division of the LAPD, the heart of CD-5 alone, homicides have gone from 1 in 2020 to 13 in 2021 and 4 already in 2022. This is unacceptable.
The LAPD offers this explanation for the spike in crime: “More than a dozen Los Angeles gang target some of the city’s wealthiest residents in new and aggressive ways, sending crews in multiple cars to find, track and rob people driving high-end vehicles or wearing expensive jewelry,” according to Captain Jonathan Tippet, who leads an LAPD task force to look into the growing wave of “tracked-at-home” crimes. He also leads the Robbery-Homicide Division of the LAPD.
It’s not just the rich with luxuries who are branded by perverts. Break-ins at retail stores, armed robberies by day, theft of catalytic converters from vehicles at night, and the theft of packages left outside front doors are bringing the crime wave back to ordinary people.
[A catalytic converter, that contains the precious metals rhodium platinum and palladium, can be cut out of an exhaust system in thirty seconds. They are prized by thieves for their ubiquity and their black-market profit margins].
It has become a double-edged sword in the hands of the criminals: the victims who have suffered losses and those who fear they are next.
The situation has skyrocketed to a plateau where the candidates can no longer count on defunding the police and abolishing prisons as winning stakes. These hashtag moments do not correspond to today’s reality.
Sam Yerbi points out that “we cannot continue to demonize the LAPD while continuing to demand that they be the first response to all problems on the streets, from mental health issues and homelessness to crowd control and traffic stops. We need more unarmed mental health crisis response teams so police can focus on the core policing job that only a trained and armed professional can handle – tackling the guns to fire and gangs that invade the neighborhoods of Los Angeles.
The flip side of the high crime wave is the soft cushion criminals land on when brought before a judge. District Attorney George Gascon was accused of “directing his prosecutors, ordering them to be soft on crime, pamper the criminals, and violate the dignity and rights of victims of crime. In office for only two years, Gascon faces his second removal from office by angry voters.
“The breakdown of our public safety in Los Angeles,” Yebri explains, “has many contributing factors, including fewer police on the streets, increased guns, untreated mental illness and addictions, and the unintended consequences of certain well-being”. planned criminal justice reforms like Proposition 47 and no cash bail. Unfortunately, District Attorney George Gascon’s new policies are also contributing to increased recidivism and a general sense of lawlessness throughout Los Angeles.
It’s random crime, often out in the open, that worries people. Appearances can be deceiving. Just last week at noon in the parking lot of the Classic Cat restaurant on the Sunset Strip, criminals stole two $18,000 Rolex watches, then upped their game by jumping into a dark Rolls Royce getaway car. The use of luxury cars to transport victim victims to the fences is not unusual. “Many of the attackers were in expensive vehicles,” added Lt. Bill Moulder of the West Hollywood Sheriff’s Department.
Crime control has become the top election issue, along with homelessness, for many voters. From the local council district level to the citywide mayoral race, to the countywide question of who will be elected county sheriff, the crime wave is what binds us together.
(Tim Deegan is a civic activist whose weekly column Deegan on LA on urbanism, new urbanism, the environment and homelessness appears in CityWatch. Tim can be reached at [email protected].)