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UNIVERSAL CITY : Garcetti Opens Anti-Crime Forum

May 27, 1993|SCOTT GLOVER

Los Angeles County Dist. Atty. Gil Garcetti kicked off a conference on violent crime Wednesday by renewing a pledge to make crime prevention the focus of his administration over the next four years.

Speaking at a gathering of about 400 health workers, religious leaders, educators, law enforcement officials and members of the community in Universal City, Garcetti said the citizens of Los Angeles are living in fear.

"We are so much paralyzed by fear--every one of us," he said. "It's the fear of random violence, that you, a loved one, could be the next victim of a random crime."

But Garcetti said the solution to the problem has to be a long-range one.

"The answer to our problem of criminal violence is not building more and more prisons," he said, drawing loud applause from the audience. "We have to start focusing on the long range."

The 2 1/2-day conference, sponsored by the Violence Prevention Coalition of Los Angeles County and being held at the Universal City Hilton, will explore methods of preventing crime on several different fronts.

For example, health officials said violence is as much their concern as that of law enforcement.

"Violence prevention is clearly a public health problem," said Caswell A. Evans, assistant director of public health programs and services for the Los Angeles County Health Department. "If there was a similar disease in Los Angeles that took the lives of 21 people over the weekend, there would be great demand from the community that something be done," Evans said, referring to last weekend's spree of killings.

Anthony Borbon, who works with gang members and is conference chairman, said the wide range of organizations represented at the conference reflects what he hopes will emerge as a new and united prevention effort drawing on the best knowledge from all fields.

"We are going to scrap what doesn't work and embellish what is successful," Borbon said.

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