Crime and violence seem to be on the rise nationally.
In Los Angeles County alone, there have been 206 homicides in 2022, up nearly 30% compared with 2020, and 779 shooting victims so far in 2022, up 43% compared with 2020, according to the LAPD.
“The onset of the pandemic, the onset of the aftermath of George Floyd's murder and the civil unrest. These last now three years have been troubling to us. As we look at the increased levels of shooting, violence and homicides, the communities most impacted are the various communities that have been most impacted by social injustice, by lack of housing, by lack of effective education and health systems,” LAPD Chief Michel Moore told “Inside the Issues” host Alex Cohen.
Moore attributed the rise in crime to the disruption the pandemic caused and the effects it continues to have on every social system in America, from schools and parks, to jobs and housing.
The effect on individuals’ emotional wellbeing has manifested in the increased number of suicides, mental health crisis calls, family disillusion, as well as turmoil on the street, increased use of alcohol and substance, and road rage, Moore explained.
“It's been a traumatic set of circumstances for most Americans from their emotional wellbeing…we have a lot of challenges all around us to our social health,” he said. “And law enforcement stuck right in the middle and is not going to be the sole answer to it, but I think we do own a perspective and an important viewpoint of how to move forward.”
Moore noted the LAPD has a cross-sectional approach to attempt to tackle the problem. They hope to focus on community engagement, partner with outreach and intervention workers, and work with schools and mental health professionals.
“Working with our very communities themselves can stitch us back together and can turn the tide,” Moore continued.
Moore also noted the importance of restoring a broken criminal justice system, which has been in standstill for nearly three years. The residual effects of the broken system will be felt, the chief noted, but stressed the importance of identifying these individuals and holding them accountable.
It is important to find balance and a restorative element to the criminal justice system, Moore explained.
“We need to hold them accountable. At the same time, we need to offer services and support and diversions and alternatives to those that have not gone into the habitual or chronic offender arena so that we can avoid creating the next generation of these repeat offenders,” Moore stated. “So it’s a balancing act, and it’s one that the community is watching closely.”
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