|Long Beach Police Department (California) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)|
As a member of the Council Public Safety Committee, I am very concerned about the cuts that were made in the Long Beach Police Department's Gang Unit in the Mayor's Budget.
I am concerned that our police do not have the resources they need to target the gangs that are often linked to the violent crimes being committed in some Council Districts (not the 5th).
And because the politicians in Sacramento (even our own representatives) voted to release prisoners and send them back home, we are experiencing an increase in property crimes on the east side of Long Beach.
Now we learn that there is an increase of sex trafficking in Long Beach which is directly tied to gangs.
Sex trafficking is the third biggest criminal industry after drugs and arms trafficking and involves the exploitation of mostly young women and girls through forced prostitution.
Street gangs operate commercial sex rings which make profits from the sale of young women. Attorney General Kamala D. Harris has called human trafficking a low-risk and high-reward crime for gangs.
If we are really interested in combating this crime we need to fully restore the gang unit in the Long Beach Police Department to give them the resources they need to combat this horrendous crime.
A fully restored gang unit can gather critical intelligence on the methods of recruiting, transporting, harboring, marketing, buying, and selling involved in gang-related human trafficking. It can help target gang-related trafficking in addition to other criminal charges.
The current "gang unit" in the LBPD has been funded at half-strength since the Mayor proposed cuts in the FY 13 budget. I proposed the restoration of the gang unit but it was opposed by the Chair of the Public Safety Committee, Robert Garcia.
It's time to restore those cuts. We need to get the scourge of all gang-related activity out of Long Beach. All of our neighborhoods deserve to be safe. All of our children deserve to be protected from these sexual predators.
I have worked in Long Beach for so many years on public safety issues. I am a life time honorary member of the Long Beach Police Chief's Women's Advisory Committee because I helped establish it and worked diligently to start the Sexual Assault Response team and the Domestic Violence Response team. Because of my work, I was appointed to the United States Attorney General's National Advisory Committee on Violence Against Women.