One of the observations I’ve made in living in Los Angeles for the last fifteen years, is the lack of a police presence. Yes, crime is supposedly coming down, and Chief Bratton is touting statistics that murders are falling to 1950s levels. But I will not walk around alone in my neighborhood at night. Rapes, vandalism, road rage, tagging…this city is still a very menacing metropolis.
Part of the problem is that Los Angeles is so spread out. Policing by car became the “futuristic” strategy in this city 75 years ago. But how can 10,000 cops patrol over 400 square miles of LA effectively? They cannot. In order to make people feel safe, and to discourage criminal behavior, it is necessary to make the police a part of the community in a socialized setting.
That is why I look to the Japanese model of clearly visible police stations, which are so rare in Los Angeles. In our city, the LAPD is hidden away in fortresses, or in the case of Van Nuys, way back in a 1960s “pedestrian mall”. Why can’t the LAPD build these type of small Japanese police stations and drop them into various dense neighborhoods such as MacArthur Park, Hollywood, Van Nuys, and North Hollywood?
These buildings could be designed by local LA architects and provide employment to the many who are out of work. Let’s start with 25 cool LAPD stations like the one in Shibuya, Japan.