The Devastating Impacts of Safer Cities Policing in Skid Row

On Tuesday, December 21st, Los Angeles Community Action Network (LA CAN), a founding member of Western Regional Advocacy Project, held a press conference to release a human rights assessment of Skid Row's Safer Cities Initiative, an intensive policing effort launched by Mayor Villaraigosa that has been sustained for more than four years. Residents also delivered the report to the Police Commission and called for the end of Safer Cities.

The Human Rights Assessment is available here:

Human Rights Assessment-Skid Row's Safer Cities Initiative 2010

The report is based on a survey of more than 200 poor and homeless residents of downtown Los Angeles and shows that:

  • More than half of the respondents (53.6%), both homeless and housed, had been arrested in just the past year. This compares to an adult arrest rate in the State of California of 4.9%.
  • As a result of arrest, 51.5% lost their housing, 42.4% lost access to social services, and 16.4% lost employment.
  • Although LAPD touts improvements in biased policing (formerly racial profiling), 75% reported being profiled by police in the past year due to their race, economic status, or residence in the Skid Row community. Almost 80% of respondents reported they do not feel safe from police violence and police harassment.
  • The report also includes previously unpublished data from the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority's 2009 Homeless Count that shows that the most prevalent form of victimization reported by those surveyed was police harassment (37%), exceeding assault (24%) and robbery (18%).