San Pedro residents demand action after recent crime spike

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Angry San Pedro residents were demanding answers and action from Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck to stop the rising crime rates in their neighborhood. (KABC)

Angry San Pedro residents were demanding answers and action from Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck to stop the rising crime rates in their neighborhood.

Residents packed the Warner Grand Theatre looking for answers from Beck on the recent spike in crime.

Violent crime in the Harbor Division was up 34 percent in 2015, something residents blame on a lack of officers on the streets and the local jail sitting empty and unused.

"Crime has gotten so bad in our community, it's not safe," said San Pedro resident Sunny Lopez. "I have a child, I need to protect my child."

Residents organized through social media and took to the streets over the weekend demanding action.

On Thursday, their work paid off as Beck spoke to the neighborhood in an open forum.

"In preparation for this meeting the mayor and I talked, and we committed to each other that within the next 36 months, we'll get these jails open," Beck said. "And I commit to you that during that time I will find ways to get more officers into harbor."

"Today, it feels like it's Christmas in San Pedro, and what the mayor and the chief promised today is a big deal here in town," said Branimir Kvartuc, communications director for Councilman Joe Buscaino.

However, not everyone was happy with the announcement. The police union took issue with the time frame.

"What I heard the chief say was 36 months, and I don't know if that was some way of hiding the fact that it's three years," said Lou Turriaga, director of the Police Protective league.

Councilman Joe Buscaino's office said there are interim steps that officials plan to put in place to get the jails open in as little as 18 months.

Related Topics:
crimelapdjailSan PedroLos Angeles
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