– Mike Feuer
Escalating gun violence, brazen smash and grab burglaries, follow-home robberies, unsafe conditions for transit riders—all have put L.A. residents on edge. The next Mayor must work to prevent crime and restore safety to our neighborhoods—that’s the City’s number one obligation.
Los Angeles is the most under-policed major city in America. I will work with LAPD leadership to immediately get more sworn officers out from behind desks and on to our streets, where they can better protect and serve Los Angeles neighborhoods. We also need to expand our depleted police force to 10,000 diverse officers and reject calls to defund law enforcement.
And to be effective over the long term, our public safety commitments must go even further. A sustainable public safety agenda requires reforms in how we police to ensure a well-trained, diverse police force whose officers de-escalate confrontations whenever possible and earn the trust and respect of the neighborhoods they serve; increasing the use of closed-circuit cameras in high-crime locations; a criminal justice system that protects the public by holding suspects in custody who present a danger to others; results-focused prosecution that holds offenders accountable, reduces repeat offenses and turns offenders’ lives around; a neighborhood-based problem-solving strategy; and an array of community investments that have shown success in preventing violence and crime and improving neighborhood quality of life.
The path forward compels action on all these fronts at once—repudiating polarizing claims that police are the enemy or that advancing bold community-based programming is soft on crime.
I’ve made community safety a top priority from my days as Vice-Chair of the City Council’s Public Safety Committee to my current role as City Attorney. My public safety platform as Mayor includes:
Our police force once approached 10,000 but has declined substantially since. While even at 10,000, the number of LAPD officers, per capita, would still lag far behind other cities like New York or Chicago, an increased police presence can play an important role in deterring crime, improving response times, and giving the Department added flexibility to address crime hot spots.
- Mike Feuer
Recent smash and grab burglaries, follow home robberies, auto theft, and organized theft from drug and retail stores compel us to ensure that dangerous criminals aren’t being arrested and immediately returned to the street.
In response to the pandemic, the court system imposed a $0 bail schedule for most crimes. But that approach can come at the expense of public safety.
The Court should eliminate $0 bail on crimes that have become disturbingly prevalent: organized theft from drug and retail stores; commercial burglaries; and auto theft. Suspects should be held in jail or restricted by monitored ankle bracelets, home detention, or both—not released to the street—until a risk assessment reveals they do not pose a danger to the community.
Otherwise, the message to those who would commit these offenses is that they can do so with impunity. And the message that a $0 bail sends to a public already on edge is chilling.
To be clear: follow-home robberies we’ve seen reported in the news recently are already an exception to $0 bail. The legend of $0 bail must not mislead anyone into thinking if they commit a follow home robbery today, they will be released tonight. They won’t.
- Mike Feuer
L.A. should significantly expand the deployment of closed-circuit television cameras in high-crime public places and ensure oversight and transparency in how these cameras are used. There are 270,000 such cameras in use across the nation, but L.A. lags far behind other major cities, from Atlanta to Philadelphia to Denver, in per capita deployment. Effectively placed cameras can help deter and solve crime.
Individuals who commit crime must be accountable for their actions. Victims need to be heard and to heal. Neighborhoods need to be restored. And we need to reduce criminal recidivism, the repeat offenses that make us all less safe. As City Attorney, I have led the way with restorative justice, including a program, Neighborhood Justice, that has practically eliminated repeat offenses among its thousands of participants and turned lives around. It has a mere 5% recidivism rate.
There is a growing body of evidence that a robust network of community-based programs can have a long-term impact on community safety. With $5 billion in new federal resources in President Biden’s Build Back Better legislation, L.A. will have an opportunity to make major new investments in violence prevention, interruption and intervention programs. There are promising new models on which to build, like Readi/Chicago, which include everything from cognitive rehabilitation to job training.
As Mayor, I’ll continue my career-long leadership to prevent gun violence, creating a Mayor’s Gun Violence Prevention Task Force that brings together officials from across relevant city departments to develop and implement solutions in conjunction with community stakeholders. And because violence-induced trauma can have lasting impacts on childhood brain development, I will develop projects to intervene early with kids in communities where violence is all-too-common, building on the program I started in the City Attorney’s Office.
Studies have shown that when communities are cleaned up, crime goes down. I have pledged to create one million additional hours of neighborhood cleanup and beautification each year—200 more hours per week in every one of L.A’s neighborhoods— and employ people experiencing homelessness, among others, to get the job done.
As Mayor I will continue my neighborhood-based approach to problem-solving, establishing the Mayor’s Neighborhood Solutions Program, bringing together neighborhood Mayoral deputies with relevant Neighborhood Prosecutors, Council representatives, staff from departments ranging from sanitation to street services to Gang Reduction and Youth Development and others to assess key community problems and develop solutions by collaborating across bureaucratic lines.
In addition to expanding after-school programs, I will develop public-private partner- ships with business, labor, universities, community colleges and the LAUSD to expand job training and apprenticeship programs that increase graduation rates and work to give young people economic and career opportunities. Father Gregory Boyle, who heads Homeboy Industries, famously noted, “Nothing stops a bullet like a job.”
True public safety goes far beyond addressing crimes after they occur. It means preventing crime in the first place. That’s why, as Mayor, I will aggressively pursue new levels of private investment in good jobs, access to health care, quality educational opportunities, childcare, after-school programs, recreation, and nutritious food in underserved neighborhoods.