The Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office recently welcomed Le Conte Middle School to its Neighborhood School Safety Program, which promotes a safe environment around school campuses.
City Attorney Mike Feuer created the program in 2016 to ensure students attend school without fear of crime in the community. Neighborhood prosecutors work with community members, school officials, city partners and others to improve the quality of life around local schools.
Staffed by Deputy City Attorneys Sharee Sanders Gordon and Jackie Lawson, the program currently partners with approximately 125 Los Angeles Unified School District campuses, including Hollywood High School and Bancroft Middle School, and Grant, Kingsley, Selma, Vine and Wonderland elementary schools. The campuses were chosen based on community and school administration interest, as well as referrals from the Los Angeles School Police Department and the Los Angeles Police Department.
Prosecutors help school administrators create comprehensive crime reduction strategies. The focus is to create a safe environment in the neighborhoods surrounding the schools for students walking to and from the campuses. Feuer also recently announced the formation of the Los Angeles School Safety Blue Ribbon Panel, which will meet soon and develop additional strategies for keeping school’s safe, particularly in the wake of recent school shootings.
“Nothing is more important than keeping our kids safe and secure,” Feuer said. “Now is the time to take a fresh, focused look at how we are doing and how can we do it better.”
The Neighborhood School Safety Program focuses on the infrastructure around schools, prosecutions and relations with community stakeholders. With infrastructure, the city attorney’s office works to deter graffiti, vandalism, littering and other nuisance-type criminal activity. The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power has committed to improving lighting around campuses. Since 2016, street lighting has been improved near 100 schools.
The program also partners with the Los Angeles Department of Transportation on its “Safe Routes to School” initiative, in coordination with LAUSD, to install new signage, pedestrian crosswalks, stop signs and traffic signals. One such project was implemented near Hollywood High School and Selma Avenue Elementary School last year.
Additionally, the program promotes continued beautification, maintenance, landscaping and street cleaning around campuses.
The Neighborhood School Safety Program also coordinates with neighborhood prosecutors and multiple city agencies to address crime. It focuses on gang and drug-related offenses, prostitution, thefts, assaults, vandalism, code violations, firearm possession, illegal medical marijuana dispensaries, problem liquor stores and smoke shops in neighborhoods surrounding schools.
The city attorney’s office also recently formed an interactive collaboration connecting schools to local government resources. The collaboration includes frequent meetings between school officials and prosecutors, LAPD captains and the Los Angeles School Police command staff. Problems are identified so participants can address specific public safety concerns. The program is also working to develop neighborhood surveys to determine public interest and success.
Anyone who is interested in joining the Neighborhood School Safety Program is encouraged to email Deputy City Attorney Sharee Sanders Gordon at firstname.lastname@example.org, and Jackie Lawson at email@example.com.
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