Residents of Harvard Park neighborhood to work with LAPD in adapting a community policing model shown to be effective in public housing developments
LOS ANGELES — Mayor Eric Garcetti announced today that the highly-successful Community Safety Partnership (CSP) — a local community-led and -driven program aimed at making our neighborhoods safer by building closer bonds between Angelenos and the police officers who serve them — will expand for the first time outside of a public housing development.
The expansion to the Harvard Park neighborhood of South L.A. will deliver a model with a proven record of bringing change to areas of Watts and Boyle Heights where the CSP already operates.
“Everyone in Los Angeles deserves neighborhoods free of crime and violence — where families can thrive, and our children can learn, play, and grow,” said Mayor Garcetti. “Harvard Park is a community filled with Angelenos who are working hard every day to build a brighter future for their neighborhood and our city. It is a great place to form a Community Safety Partnership, which is all about empowering people with the resources and relationships they need to make lasting change that is driven by the community, for the community.”
CSP assigns specially-trained and -selected Los Angeles Police Department officers to not just police the community, but to become part of it. Residents work alongside them to reduce crime by developing sports, recreational, and other programs tailored specifically to their community; putting a heightened focus on tackling quality of life issues like blight; and bridging communication and trust gaps between residents and the LAPD. They also focus on connecting people in need with resources — such as employment training, mobile medical programs, and counseling.
“This community has agonized over violent crime and the loss of lives for too many years, and today I hope we mark a turning point,” said Councilmember Marqueece Harris-Dawson. “The CSP approach has been a change maker in Watts and we will build a new phase of CSP at Harvard Recreation Center. The goal is first and foremost, saving lives. The strategy toward that goal involves changing the relationship between community residents and the police that serve them. Our objective is to get this neighborhood fully engaged in creating the strategies to prevent crime, and implement those as a community united.”
The Harvard Park initiative will start with a three-month assessment of community needs conducted by the Urban Peace Institute with funding from the Weingart Foundation.
The new CSP officers’ salaries, as well as overtime and programming, will be funded by a $750,000 grant from Ballmer Group Philanthropy, covering the first three years of the expansion. A separate grant from the Ballmer Group and its partners will fund an evaluation of the CSP model. Mayor Garcetti is committed to working with Councilmember Marqueece Harris-Dawson and all parties to help ensure funding for a subsequent two years of the expansion.
“The Los Angeles Police Department is committed to powerful, compelling, and creative methods for enhancing public trust, and the Community Safety Partnership Program is a shining example of that effort,” said Chief Charlie Beck. “The expansion of CSP into Harvard Park is a key component of our effort to create positive relationships with the residents of Los Angeles, and is proof positive of the power of collaboration between city government, non-profit entities, and the police department.”
The five-year expansion will station 10 officers and a sergeant in the Harvard Park area in LAPD’s 77th Street Division, in collaboration with Councilmember Marqueece Harris-Dawson, the Ballmer Group, Weingart Foundation, and Urban Peace Institute.
“The Ballmer Group is honored to support the expansion of LAPD's Community Safety Partnership to Harvard Park. CSP is an innovative, relationship-based policing program that is recognized as a national model for improving dynamics between law enforcement and community residents—and for significantly impacting levels of crime,” said Nina Revoyr, Executive Director-Los Angeles, The Ballmer Group. “Building on the groundbreaking work in Watts and East L.A., the new CSP pilot in Harvard Park will demonstrate what is possible when residents and law enforcement work collaboratively to address community violence — and to create opportunities for children and families to thrive.”
CSP was born in November 2011 as a collaboration between the Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles (HACLA) and the LAPD. A key early partner was the Watts Gang Task Force, a group of committed community members, civic and faith leaders, and other stakeholders who took ownership of their neighborhood and fought back against crime and gangs in Watts. Initially conceived for the Jordan Downs housing development in Watts, CSP subsequently expanded to three other public housing communities: Imperial Courts and Nickerson Gardens in Watts, and Ramona Gardens in Boyle Heights.
In the first three years of CSP’s operation, violent crime declined by more than 50 percent in the three Watts housing developments, and the number of arrests also declined by 50 percent. Jordan Downs went three years without a homicide.
The program’s approach centers on community policing, in which both police officers and residents work in mutually respectful partnership to identify and prevent crime. Community leaders also take an active role in CSP by watching over schoolyards, ensuring that parents track their kids’ activities during after-school hours, and setting clear expectations of teens in youth employment programs.