City officials and community leaders initially rally around a homicide, but as media attention decreases so does the city officials and community leaders attention to the community and individuals impacted by the violent crimes.
City officials and community leaders give the impression in the beginning that they are willing to find plausible solutions to the issues surrounding violent crimes and the neighborhoods that are disproportionately affected by them. In its place the only answer that is given to these communities and their families are empty promises and statistics.
Empty promises and statistics are not the solution to decreasing the number of senseless murders that occur every year in Los Angeles. A genuine and realistic approach is needed in providing justice and decreasing the number of homicides in the Los Angeles area.
LAPD Chief William J. Bratton has said he is expecting a downward trend in homicides this year, but the numbers so far do not seem to be indicators of this downward trend. In fact, the first three months of this year saw an increase in homicides that included 102 homicides versus the 95 the occurred during the same period in 2007.
Police officials continue to be optimistic and dismiss the idea that homicides are indeed on the increase. Instead, they offer the explanation that the perception of an increase in homicides is one that is constructed by the media, who focus on cases like the murders of high school football player, Jamiel Shaw and CSUN senior Clifton Hibbert Jr., which ultimately grasped the public’s attention.
On the 40th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King’s assassination, community leaders devised a plan to promote peace and end violence with the symbolic 40-hour ban on violence in Los Angeles. Many critics viewed the moratorium on killing as an impractical gesture. The symbolic ban proved some critics right, when at least three homicides were reported as occurring during this period.
This was just another empty promise disguised as a genuine attempt to rectify a situation that is affecting many communities. Carefully organized and detailed plans are more needed than a good hearted gesture.
Many agree that one obstacle facing the decrease in homicides is that certain individuals and agencies down-play homicides in Los Angeles. Those greatly affected are not from the affluent neighborhoods that many of these top officials call home and are funded by.
Community leaders frequently offer solutions that include rallies and symbolic gestures like the moratorium on killing, but these solutions offer no solace for those individuals directly impacted by these types of violent crimes. These are just temporary solutions to a permanent problem.
LAPD has also offered their own solutions that include increased police patrol in those areas more susceptible to violent crime like homicides. Despite the strategic attempt, the reality remains the same; homicides continue to increase despite opposing statements from officials.
The solution to the problem of homicides is first admitting that there is a surge even if its minute by most standards. We also have to come up with solutions that will be implemented for the long run and not for short-term media attention. The media can also contribute to the accurate portrayal of homicides by covering all cases evenly and providing proper follow-up coverage.
With the needed follow-up coverage, the empty promises will eventually become fulfilled. The extra pressure of the media coverage will entail for those officials and leaders to provide solutions. No longer will statistics and empty promises be served to the families who have lost their loved ones to violent crimes like homicides.