Many people feel that Southern California is suffering a violent crime wave. Even the head of the Los Angeles Police Department union was forced to warn tourists away. LAPD Chief Michel Moore attempted to assure the public that crime is under control in the city.
“My message to anyone thinking about coming to Los Angeles, especially during the holiday season, is don’t,” Jamie McBride, the head of the LA Police Protective League, the union representing LAPD officers, said in a television interview.
McBride’s message is a warning to residents and businesses about a wave of crime that has decimated the city and its surrounding areas.
“We can’t guarantee your safety. It is really, really out of control. I said it to people before, it’s like that movie ‘Purge,’ you know, instead of 24 hours to commit your crime, these people have 365 days days to commit whatever they want,” McBride said.
Some residents seem to have heeded his warning.
“It’s pretty scary walking at night,” said Sarah Veenstra, who moved to LA from Wisconsin about six months ago. She said she didn’t realize crime and safety would be such an issue.
Rampant crime continues. The latest victims were at the downtown Intercontinental Hotel where armed burglars took an estimated $100,000 worth of jewelry on Tuesday morning.
This robbery follows a string of smash-and-grab, followed home, and home invasion robberies. Chief Moore tried to reassure the public on Tuesday.
“It’s not out of control. It’s not a spiral that we’ve lost control over. It is important that we not have a sense of acquiescing or just a lackadaisical approach to this. We’re calling out the severity of it,” the police chief stated.
Recent arrests of 14 people for smash-and grabs led to their release.
“Eleven were released on zero bail and we need the criminal justice system to look at those offenses and recognize how to keep the most dangerous individuals off the street,” Moore said.
During the pandemic, zero-bail policies were put in place for some crimes, like burglary. Chief Moore said he and LA County District Attorney George Gascón are in close communication.
“Gascón and I spoke as recently as Friday,” Moore said, “and he assured me he will hold criminal offenders, violent criminal offenders, accountable.”
While acknowledging the reality of what’s been going on, Chief Moore said the city is relatively safe and he is welcoming tourists.
“I believe tourists coming to Los Angeles are safe. Certainly, as safe here as any other portion of the country.”
However, some tourists have realized that the headlines don’t lie.
“We just take Ubers everywhere and don’t walk from place to place. So, that’s about it,” a tourist told CBSLA.
Hollywood residents or visitors said that they just keep an extra eye on the area.
In a Tuesday press release, DA George Gascon stated that a Wednesday press conference would be held to highlight the achievements of the past year.