Chief: Crime may rise as LAPD mobilizes

Los Angeles Daily News

Chief: Crime may rise as LAPD mobilizes

By Mariel Garza
Staff Writer

Tuesday, March 18, 2003 – In response to an expected attack on Iraq, the Los Angeles Police Department went on modified tactical alert Tuesday, which police officials concede could hurt their everyday crime-fighting efforts.

Detectives and some narcotics officers will be returned to uniform, and as many as 30 additional officers will be deployed to patrol Los Angeles International Airport, said John Miller, a former TV journalist who heads the LAPD’s new Homeland Security Bureau.

And with the 9,100-member police force and its tools and equipment dedicated to stopping war-related terrorism and moving personnel from neighborhood patrols to airport patrols, Miller said, “there is a potential for impact.”

The heightened security comes as the city is starting to see a decline in crime after a bloody year in which Los Angeles set a national record for homicides.

Police Chief William Bratton told the Police Commission on Tuesday that homicides through March 15 totaled 109, a 14.2 percent drop from the 127 reported during the comparable period last year.

Overall, crime is down 2.6 percent, Bratton said. Robberies were down 9.5 percent, burglary down 1.1 percent and reported rapes up 1.9 percent.

Bratton also noted that the department’s gang impact teams, which began last December in South Central Los Angeles, are now operational in all 18 divisions in the city and could have an effect on crime.

Adding to the woes, the already lean department has seen 148 officers who are military reservists called to active duty, and police officials said as many as 400 more could be called to war duty.

A modified tactical alert is only slightly more serious than normal for the department, LAPD Lt. Horace Frank said.

The next step up is a full tactical alert, in which officers respond only to emergency calls and cannot leave duty until specifically dismissed by a commander. The most serious is full department mobilization, in which all time off is canceled and all police personnel are called to work, with everyone on 12-hour shifts.

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