LAPD teams up with local residents to reduce crime in South L.A.

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- There's a new plan to take teamwork to a whole new level at South Park. The LAPD is partnering with neighbors at 51st and Avalon, trying to rid the area of violence.

Reflecting a recent surge in citywide violence, LAPD reports 29 shootings in the area surrounding the park. There was one murder in the park and last month three people were shot on the baseball diamond.

A $10 million upgrade now showcases new lawns, lighting and play areas. But leaders knew that more was needed to deter crime and homeless encampments.

"Just putting more cops in the area historically has not been a positive sign, " said L.A. Councilman Curren Price.

With the help of the Urban Peace Institute, LAPD went to work, first selecting officers who have ties here like Sgt. Ronald Kingi.

"I grew up at 43rd and McKinley and this is my community," Kingi said.

The program takes a close look at youth at risk of getting into trouble, training them in prevention, intervention and re-entry, plus what to do with kids who have been in the system and want to get back on the right track.

The officers in the Community Safety Partnership will help organize whatever type of activities neighbors want here, from soccer clubs to girl scouts. Their overtime will be funded by the Ballmer Foundation. The partnership began Monday, ready for the park's official opening set for next Saturday.
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