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One Way to Fight Long Beach Crime

February 22, 1987

Long Beach's selection of a police chief from outside the force, after eliminating the two local candidates with the most experience, was a necessary, if temporarily painful, step in the municipality's march toward world-classness.

Long Beach leadership realized from the start that world-classness was not an easy item to achieve. Shutting down the ingrained downtown businesses and crowding out lifelong residents in order to attract the really big things that world-classness demands has caused short-run disgruntlement among the locals here, as it would in any city.

And crowding the schools and parks in order to meet urban standards has occasionally gotten local families' hackles up in the short run. But these changes have been put into effect so that Long Beach's long-run interests in achieving world-classness can be satisfied.

Except crime. No community has been found, no matter how determined it might be to achieve world-classness, that will accept rising crime rates, even for a little while. And when cities are brought on-line with modern metropolises that have achieved world-class crime figures, local police chiefs, forgetting the long-run interests, invariably look at the thing and shout: "Hey, we got crime going up here!"

Obviously, no city can afford to have a panicky cop at the top when its long-range plans are being realized like that. Therefore, Long Beach has wisely chosen a candidate from a municipality with a proven world-class crime rate; and he can come in, look at the rising figures--which, for him, will be falling--and honestly say what we want to hear, that the crime picture is looking better.

--DOUGLAS A. KERMODE

Long Beach

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