New federal initiative seeks to combat violent gun crime in Los Angeles

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Thursday, March 21, 2024
New federal initiative seeks to combat violent gun crime in LA
Federal and local law enforcement officials announced a new initiative aimed at fighting violent crime in Los Angeles.

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Federal and local law enforcement officials in Los Angeles on Wednesday announced a new initiative aimed at fighting violent crime.

Operation Safe Cities is a collaboration between the L.A. County Sheriff's Department, the LAPD, Ventura County Sheriff's Office, the FBI and the ATF.

"The bottom line is this, violent gun criminals are on notice. If you think that violent gun crime is a good way to make a living, you're severely mistaken," U.S. Attorney Martin Estrada said during a news conference.

Estrada said the need for the partnership is in response to the rise in gun crime and ghost guns.

"We see commercial robberies, often serial robberies committed using guns - even taco stands being robbed at gunpoint," he said.

The Safe Cities initiative aims to strengthen existing partnerships between federal and local law enforcement to take the most violent and habitual offenders off the streets and expand the number of federal cases involving gun crimes, according to Estrada.

Sharing some recent cases handled by the partners in Operation Safe Cities include a criminal complaint filed against a group dubbed the "all-armed bandits," who committed 19 robberies across the region by holding customers at gunpoint at restaurants and pharmacies.

"If convicted, the leaders of that crew face federal sentences of 40 years in prison," Estrada said.

Authorities also shared photos of two L.A. County men indicted for allegedly conducting a series of armed robberies at massage parlors. If convicted, each could face more than 100 years in federal prison.

Law enforcement leaders are hoping this new initiative will help keeping the community safe and put criminals behind bars.

"We have limited enforcement resources, but we can multiply our efforts by collaborating with our colleagues at local police agencies to have the most significant impact on violent crime," Estrada said in a statement. "Operation Safe Cities will allow us to identify and use the best available intelligence and information to assess the violent crime problem and the offenders who drive that violence."

City News Service contributed to this report.