SoCal sees heightened security near synagogues following Pittsburgh shooting

STUDIO CITY, LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Around the county and in Southern California, law enforcement agencies stepped up patrols outside synagogues and Jewish community centers.

The Los Angeles Police Department said the measures are out of an abundance of caution.

Outside of a Studio City synagogue, leaders and local law enforcement were on heightened alert following the deadly attack in Pittsburgh.

David Lehrer, former head of the Anti-Defamation League in Los Angeles, said the current political climate is feeding the hate.

"The polls show attitudes haven't really changed profoundly," Lehrer said. "What I think has changed is that those who are haters, sociopaths feel emboldened.

LAPD said there is no connection to the violence in Pennsylvania or threat in LA, but the department is stepping up patrols around houses of worship.

The LA Sheriff's Department also increased its presence, many other departments were doing the same.

"What people have to realize is that the threat is always present, and the idea is not to scare people," said David Bacall, Director of West Coast Operations for Community Security Service.

CSS helps train members of the Jewish community in security measures. He says Saturday's threats are real.

He said the latest FBI stats show that 54 percent of hate crimes in America were against Jewish individuals or Jewish institutions.

Many synagogues and schools now have private security or go through specialized security training.

"Unfortunately we live in a world where bad people exist," Bacall said. "We've had to take measures at schools, at synagogues, at community centers... We all kind of have to look out for each other."
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