Who Should See LAPD Bodycam Video?  

Respond to the Survey - Make Your Voice Heard!! Justice Not Jails applauds Police Commission president Matt Johnson for inviting the public to weigh in on the question of releasing police bodycam video. When the city first started equipping officers with the cameras two years ago, we denounced the policy of leaving it entirely up to the police chief whether to release video (apart form court-ordered releases). We said that leaving it to the chief's discretion runs totally counter to the goals … [Read more...]

Crime Hotspots Need Investments, Not Just Policing

Anti-crime strategies should try to fix what makes hotspots prone to violence. On the last day of 2016, a solemn procession made its way across Chicago. Hundreds of mourners and their supporters marched together, carrying 762 wooden crosses — one for each victim of the year’s terrible homicide toll. Had the marchers ended the demonstration by planting those crosses at the site of each murder, they would have clustered in a few areas of the sprawling city, creating a haphazard array of … [Read more...]

When Police Kill • Policing Without Permission

Two Books Argue the Case for Police Reform From Within It is, to hear the new president’s posse tell it, an exceptionally dangerous and thankless time to be a police officer in the United States. In the streets, we are told, there is a “war on cops,” fired up by the activists of Black Lives Matter. In the corridors of Washington, liberals want to deny law enforcement the powers they need to keep us safe. The media runs endless video loops of a few police shootings of civilians, and the Justice … [Read more...]

Can Policing Really Change?

Ten Lessons From the DOJ’s ‘Pattern or Practice’ Bias Probes The first consent decree ordered under the  Justice Department “pattern or practice” program to investigate local police departments for violations of constitutional rights was signed 20 years ago.  There’ve been 30 settlements with departments since that first Pittsburgh agreement in 1997. It’s therefore an appropriate time to assess the program’s  impact. What has it achieved? Has it effectively reduced police … [Read more...]

Metro Approves $646M Annual Multi-Agency Transit Policing Contract

At last Thursday’s meeting, the Metro board approved a new five-year multi-agency transit policing contract. For the past decade, transit policing had been done by the L.A. County Sheriff Department (LASD.) Under the new contract transit policing will be done by LAPD, LASD, and Long Beach Police Department. When the proposal first came to the board in November-December 2016, it was $547 million annually: L.A. Police Department – $370 million – 68 percent L.A. County Sheriffs … [Read more...]

Minor Crimes, Major Challenges

Responding to minor crimes is arguably one of the most critical activities of any police department. Given that low-level arrests also clog the nation’s courts and jails, it is remarkable that this police function has received so little public attention.The resource demands are certainly substantial.  These enforcement actions also provide opportunities to reduce crime and enhance public trust.  In addition, they pose considerable safety risks to the responding officers. By any measure, … [Read more...]

Sanctuary Cities in Name Only

President Trump’s plan to deport millions of people appears to be underway. Last week, federal immigration officials arrested more than 600 people at their homes and workplaces in at least 11 states, sending terror through immigrant communities. The abruptness of the raids provoked criticism from local officials, including Mayor Bill de Blasio of New York, who vowed to “stand with” immigrant communities. But mass deportation under President Trump will also happen through a more routine policy … [Read more...]

California’s Urban Crime Steady Through Policy Reform Era

A new fact sheet from the Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice finds that, despite the implementation of large-scale criminal justice reforms, California’s urban crime rates remained stable from 2010 through early 2016. The report uses recently released FBI crime data from the first six months of 2016 to compare rates of property and violent crime across cities and over time. Sources: FBI (2017); DOF (2017). Note: Violent crime rates exclude rape because the definition was broadened in … [Read more...]

The LAPD’s biggest conundrum: How to suppress crime without alienating South L.A.’s black residents

On a chilly night in South Los Angeles, a young black man stood on the sidewalk watching police officers rummage through his car. Their reason for stopping him: the tinted front windows on his Nissan Maxima. Because he was on probation, the officers could legally conduct a search. It was the first of four times that Rio Cater would be stopped by police that night. When an officer praised his cooperative attitude, Cater, 28, replied that he was trying to avoid being ha— … “Don’t say the … [Read more...]

In Criminal Justice, “Simple” Solutions Are Usually Wrong

Sometimes, traditions in journalistic coverage can wrench a public discussion down the wrong path. A recent Washington Post series on the District of Columbia’s criminal justice system targeted flaws in the Youth Rehabilitation Act (YRA), detailing horrific acts of violence and frightening statistics neatly juxtaposed with anodyne responses from criminal justice spokespeople. The articles raised serious questions about the operation of the criminal justice system in the District of … [Read more...]