Murders have increased in Compton, not declined!
Mayor Aja Brown omitted Compton’s dramatic rise in murders this year in her editorial; more blood in the streets in 2016 than at same time last year Contrary to what Compton Mayor Aja Brown wrote in
Mayor Aja Brown omitted Compton’s dramatic rise in murders this year in her editorial; more blood in the streets in 2016 than at same time last year
Contrary to what Compton Mayor Aja Brown wrote in a guest editorial, this week, in the Compton Herald, murders are not in decline in Compton. In 2016, killings have more than doubled at15, compared with the
same period last year, according to figures from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department’s Compton station. This month alone, seven people have been killed in this city of roughly 100,000 residents.
In September 2015 The U.S. Department of Justice announced that Compton was one of eight cities in the country selected to join the Violence Reduction Network, a two-year initiative aimed at providing federal assistance to cities with chronic violence. The program is supposed to provide resources, including personnel, training, and other support, to the County Sheriff’s Department, which patrols Compton. So far there has been no pay off in Compton from this initiative.
Ask Compton resident Vicki Lindsey, the founder of Project Cry No More, a mother who has suffered the tragedy of losing a loved one to urban violence.
“Until we realize and accept that we have problems in Compton, there will always be problems. — we want to act as if Compton is better than what it has been,” said Lindsey. “We have [more than] two times as many homicides now than we did at this time last year. Why? Because our so called leaders are ignoring it like crime doesn’t exist here.
“We are not combating [the violence] in our city. We’re just putting baby powder, lotion, and perfume on it and letting it be what it is. We know we have problems! The loved ones of the murdered victims know,” Lindsey added.
The shooting of toddler Autumn Johnson touched the entire country. No one has been arrested for this crime as of today. Days after the murder I attended a vigil at the home where the shooting took place. A neighbor next door told me that her daughter was home at the time of the shooting and heard the initial shooting plus return gunfire. Her daughter has not been interviewed by sheriff’s investigators.
The Grim Sleeper case is another example of the importance of having the community and media involved in a homicide pandemic. For years, the Los Angeles Police Department did not alert the community to the possibility of a serial killer operating in South L.A. over a 20 year period.
The Black Coalition Fighting Back Serial Murders, led by Margret Prescod, pressured police into setting up a task force and to acknowledge the mounting death toll. This resulted in the LAPD putting more resources into the investigation which lead to the arrest of Lonnie Franklin as a result of familial DNA. Imagine how many lives would have been saved if law enforcement had initially done their due diligence?
Significant numbers of probationers and parolees are re-entering communities as a result of Propositions 36 and 47, split sentencing, AB109 realignment, and the federal early release program. Many of these men and women return to their communities lacking the resources to successfully reintegrate.
There is a direct relationship between high recidivism and violence in communities with insufficient resources. In August, the County Board of Supervisors created an Office of Diversion and Reentry with a $100 million budget. We request that a portion of this funding be used to implement community-based gang intervention and prevention programs in Compton.
Nyabingi Kuti is director of the Los Angeles Reintegration Council, an advocacy group for increased resources to the formerly incarcerated. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.