LAPD makes more than 75 drug arrests with influx of Downtown officers
More than 50 officers have been transferred to Central Division to help combat crime rates.
DOWNTOWN LOS ANGELES — LAPD's Central Division in Downtown received an influx of about 50 officers last month to help reduce crime in the area -- mainly, by cracking down on drugs. Capt. Horace Frank said 85 to 90 percent of Central's property crimes are committed by narcotics suspects.
"They're stealing stuff, to get money, to buy narcotics," said Frank.
The Los Angeles Downtown News reports that the transfer is the "largest infusion of police resources" to Central Division since 2006, when 50 officers were sent to combat Skid Row crime in the Safer Cities Initiative.
The recent deployment of extra officers is also concentrated in Skid Row, and includes a mixture of uniformed police and undercover narcotics officers -- many of who are on foot in the area.
Central Division typically has eight to ten officers working narcotics but between their hour restrictions, days off, court appointments and other obligations, the actual hours of street policing are limited.
With this additional staff, the area has been able to have officers working seven days a week for 10 to 20 hours a day, said Frank.
Over the first two weeks of having the added enforcement, Central Division has arrested more than 75 people on narcotics charges, Frank said. Of these, more than 60 were on felony charges -- meaning many were booked on more than possession and had enough to sell.
But for now, these additional officers are only slated to be in Downtown for two months, Frank said, and the overcrowded jails have led to a "revolving door" of arrests and quick releases for non-violent crimes.
Police have recently been receiving an increase in complaints from Downtown residents and business owners about people sleeping on the sidewalk during the day and panhandling, the L.A. Downtown News reports.
“We are having an increase in quality of life issues and we don’t want to lose any ground that we’ve gained in that area,” LAPD Deputy Chief Jose Perez told the Downtown News. “We want to stop the problem before it explodes. We’re just being proactive in our analysis and response to the area and understanding it.”