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The aftermath of tragedy

March 07, 2007

Re "How a community imploded," March 4

It's amazing to see how society takes an interest in local homicides only when they're brought to our attention in graphic detail, usually involving the deaths of young children, as was the case with 14-year-old Cheryl Green.

How can something as devastating as murder be ignored until it's brought up again in another unexpected article?

Instead of meticulously focusing on stop-sign violations and parking tickets, maybe local police forces should aim their attention toward the more earth-shattering act of murder, instead of "ignoring" dangerous districts such as Harbor Gateway.

How many more homicides must we hear about before we learn that ignoring a problem does not bring forth its resolution?

TATIANA CZERWIAK

Chino Hills

*

What will it take for our mayor and police chief to provide a reasonable level of security for all Angelenos? After reading the article in Sunday's Times on gang violence, I was struck by the parallel to Iraqi death squads.

Our leaders apparently lack both the moral fiber and the willingness to deploy the resources to curb gang violence.

It is unconscionable that a city with the wealth that Los Angeles possesses allows a large segment of our fellow citizens to live in the shadow of fear. Shame on those leaders who do not speak out against it and are unwilling to commit the necessary police forces to curb it.

BILL WHITE

Calabasas

*

Re "Gov. seeks coordinated gang effort," March 6

Although the police and criminal courts are an important component of any overall strategy to reduce gang violence, their response has largely been reactive rather than preventive, making the associated costs exorbitant.

California spends billions of dollars each year to maintain prisoners, many of whom began their acquaintance with the justice system as juvenile offenders. Prevention and early intervention are far less expensive, not only in dollars but in the social costs to the community.

The issue we must bring to the forefront of the debate is not what we should do with individuals who committed violent acts, but what we as a community are willing to do to decrease and prevent violence before it occurs.

Law enforcement, the courts and community-based organizations working together can make a difference in reducing violence.

GARY L. YATES

President and chief

executive officer

The California Wellness

Foundation

Woodland Hills

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