LAPD community policing program has prevented crime, made residents feel safer, UCLA study finds

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Eric Romero, right, a resident at the Imperial Courts Housing Development in Watts, chats with Los Angeles police officers Delano Hutchins, left, and Angelo Marzan in 2015. (Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times)

Eric Romero, right, a resident at the Imperial Courts Housing Development in Watts, chats with Los Angeles police officers Delano Hutchins, left, and Angelo Marzan in 2015. (Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times)

The Los Angeles Police Department’s signature community policing program has prevented crime and made residents feel safer in public housing developments with entrenched gang problems and troubled relationships with law enforcement, according to a study by UCLA researchers.

But challenges remain for the Community Safety Partnership, including confusion about its mission and perception that it fails to help teenagers at high risk of gang involvement, the researchers wrote in the report, which they presented to the five-member civilian Police Commission on Tuesday.

“People felt it was safer to go outside, mingle with people, use green spaces,” said Jorja Leap, a gang expert and professor of social work at UCLA who was the study’s lead author. “Their lives were literally changed by CSP.”

CSP launched in 2011 as a radical departure from traditional policing. Instead of arresting suspects, CSP officers would talk to residents and help solve their problems, whether through a firm word to quell minor misbehavior or by coaching a football team that taught positive values to young boys.

Read the full story on LATimes.com.

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