It starts with the helicopter sounds we are all too used to, sirens down Sunset Blvd., and residential street closures for hours. Echo Park is no stranger to crime, but even though LA has the lowest homicide rate in 40 years, residents are still worried.
Things are definitely different than they were even ten years ago, a sentiment not just reflected in the statistics but also felt by long-time residents. December felt like a pretty active month for crime and gang-related shootings in Echo Park, and there’s Christmas Day gang-related shooting that left one person dead. But while over half of the city’s homicides are gang-related (according to a recent NPR article), the reduction in overall homicides may be due to the reduction in retaliation after a shooting.
Mayor Antonion Villaraigosa told NPR that former gang members- turned-interventionists have helped, those “who immediately after a shooting make sure they are calming the waters in communities where otherwise there may have been a retaliation.” While there’s nothing specific about this in relation to Echo Park, you have to wonder.
Tonight, the Echo Park Improvement Association (which I am a member of) town hall meeting will focus on the issue of crime and shootings in Echo Park. Representatives from both the LAPD’s Northeast (north of Sunset) and Rampart Divisions (south of Sunset) come to these meetings regularly, and are a great resource. These guys even give our their cell phone numbers and emails for you to have on hand if you ever need to report anything.
Show your support for the community, come to the meeting!
Echo Park Improvement Association Meeting
Thursday, January 6, 2011, 7:00 pm
Williams Hall, Barlow Hospital, 2000 Stadium Way