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Public Safety in Los Angeles

August 22, 1993

My wife works at the Arroyo Seco regional branch of the Los Angeles Public Library. The day before your article appeared on library security (Aug. 10), one of the clerical staff of this library was assaulted by a "patron" while working at the circulation desk. She was lured over to the edge of the counter and struck on the head with an object that knocked her down and temporarily unconscious. The incident was unexpected and unprovoked. This was witnessed by a class of about 25 children who were visiting the library.

The paramedics came quickly, as usual. The police did not come for a couple of hours, and then would not take a report because the victim had gone to the doctor.

Your article states that the newly renovated Central Library will have 100 surveillance cameras. They have also had round-the-clock security and "arson-watch" for several years. Very few of the 63 branch libraries have surveillance cameras, and little if any regular security patrols. With the City of Los Angeles' budget problems and hiring freezes, there simply are not enough security officers to protect most branch libraries, the employees and patrons.

It is time that the City of Los Angeles, and library administration become more responsive to protecting the employees of the library, and the legitimate patrons who use the library.



The drug problem in Skid Row is growing at an alarming rate, and it's no wonder that this has happened. The Los Angeles Police Department has turned a deaf ear to the plight of Skid Row residents, with shootings or stabbings occurring on a weekly basis. All of the violence is drug related, and could be stopped by removing this element from our community. You would think that the hotel I manage, being a block away from the Police Department, would be a safe area, but that is most assuredly not the case. The residents of this hotel can't walk out of the front door without someone trying to sell them drugs or pulling a knife on them and taking their money.

The reason things are getting worse here is because the police refuse to do anything. With over 30 police cars going past the front of this hotel a day we still don't feel safe walking outside, or walking down the street. The police drive by and people are lined up and down the street using and dealing drugs and nothing is done. The longer the police refuse to do something the worse the problem is going to get. The residents of Skid Row have rights too, but these rights are being ignored by law enforcement agencies. This statement is a desperate plea for the taxpayers of this city to demand that something be done about this problem, before it spreads into their community.


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