Holding a collage that features dozens of victims of unsolved murders, LaWanda Hawkins had nothing but praise for a new partnership between the FBI and the LAPD.
"As a mother, and the families I represent, we appreciate this," said Hawkins.
Hawkins, whose son was killed, heads an organization called Justice For Murdered Children. She was on hand at a news conference Friday that laid out the specifics of a 90-day joint task force targeting murders in South L.A.
"New people in town: We got the FBI involved, and united with LAPD Homicide, it's on and crackin'," said Hawkins.
"I would like to call it a 'blitz,'" said FBI agent Bill Lewis. "We are really going to concentrate very heavily to let the gang members know that we are aware of what they've done, and that it's not going to go unnoticed."
So far, there have been 38 homicides in South L.A. this year, compared to a total of 30 for the same time period last year.
The LAPD says South L.A. accounts for 30 to 40 percent of the city's murders.
"When you take that number, it is still astronomically high, when compared to other parts of the city," said LAPD Deputy Chief Pat Gannon.
Gannon says the partnership with the FBI comes at the perfect time, as the murder rate tends to increase during the summer months.
"To those individuals in the community that are hell-bent on death and destruction, that not only is the Los Angeles Police Department continuing in its efforts, but that we have a very influential partner, the FBI, that's alongside us," said Gannon.
The Save Our Streets program will continue for the next 90 days, but any evidence gathered in investigations over this summer will be use in cases beyond that time period.