Compton chosen for specialized crime-fighting program

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Compton is one of the cities picked by the Justice Department for a specialized crime-fighting program. (KABC)

Crime numbers have dropped recently in Compton, but the city is still dealing with gangs, violence and unsolved homicides.

Now, Compton is one of the cities picked by the Justice Department for a specialized crime-fighting program.

Compton is one of five cities added to the Violence Reduction Network - a federal program targeting cities impacted by chronic violence.

Compton, with a population of nearly 100,000, was ranked the eighth most dangerous city in America not that long ago. In 2000, its police force was disbanded, and the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department took over.

Sheriff Jim McDonnell and U.S. Attorney Eileen Decker are working together, adding far-reaching federal resources to local law enforcement.

"Incredibly excited to have this opportunity to create a program in Compton where we can achieve real success," said Decker. "There's nothing more important than being able to show the results to a community and have them take back their community and feel safe."

After a daring daytime robbery in her store, a businesswoman spoke out.

Chronic and deep-seated crime in Compton is why it was chosen for the Violence Reduction Network, which does not give the sheriff more money. It instead opens federal resources: training, forensics, data analysis.

"Crime has gone down since the L.A. County Sheriff's Department took over in 2000 dramatically," said McDonnell. "We're holding the line on that, but I think we're at a tipping point in Compton where we have good leadership, we have the ability to bring our partners together - federal, state and local - to be able to focus on the root causes of crime."

The federal resources will be available to Compton for two years, focusing on gang violence, human trafficking, narcotics, cybercrime, and both agree it hinges on building community trust.

"When the community sees success, they will feel empowered to take back their community and to drive the violence out themselves," said Decker. "They will know we're there to help them, and that is what this is really all about."

"I think results will show. I think those that are involved in crime will take heed very quickly," said McDonnell. "I think members of the community who are going 'is this just another program' will see in relatively short order that we're very serious about this, that we're going to be very effective but that we need their help."

Compton joins less than a dozen other cities in the new initiative, but it's a program that's expected to grow.

The sheriff has two years to make the Violence Reduction Network successful in Compton. He's confident it will be.
Related Topics:
crimeviolencedepartment of justiceComptonLos Angeles County
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