Recap of Inaugural AKT Neighborhood Meeting: January 21, 2015

This is the newsletter we sent out on January 24, 2015.

Greetings AKT Neighbors!

Thanks to all who came out to Wednesday night’s meeting—we had 60 to 70 neighbors in attendance, which is GREAT for our first group meeting! Please find a brief recap below.

For those of you who couldn’t make it this time, we look forward to meeting you at the next one! Here’s what you missed:

  1. Introducing the AKT and the Organizing Committee

We kicked things off by introducing those in the organizing committee thus far. There are five or six of us who have taken the initiative to start this group, discuss our initial goals, distribute fliers, and organize our website, email blasts and this first meeting. While we are all dedicated to the improvement of our neighborhood and will continue to work hard to keep our group going strong, we need help! With over 180 residents signed up and membership continuing to rise, we really need more people to join our organizing committee. This will be a smaller group that meets approximately once a month and shares the administrative and organizational duties that it will take to keep our momentum going strong and continue the AKT’s efforts.

  • If you are interested in being part of the organizing committee and/or can offer any help, please email us and describe what you’re up for.

 

  1. Crime and Safety:

After the intros, we explained that our primary and most pressing focus is on crime and safety, particularly because we’ve been alarmed by the recent hot prowls—some 25 since July 1, 2014. There are, of course, a number of other issues important to our community (and this became apparent as attendees spoke up at the meeting). We definitely plan to use the AKT to address other concerns in the neighborhood, for example parking, traffic, and new development, as well as plan some community social events that will help us all get to know our neighbors better so we can all watch out for each other. Please be patient with us in this “getting started” phase—safety first, and then we promise we will get into everything else down the road.

 

  1. Block Captains and Neighborhood Safety Watches

One of the most important next steps is for us to organize dedicated block captains who will act as the main point of contact for their specific block. Thank you to those who have signed up already! While the goal is to have at least one per block, we need more volunteers!

  • Click here to learn more about being a block captain and about neighborhood safety watches.
  • Being a block captain basically means being a point of contact for your block—organizing contact information for your block, sharing your block’s concerns, and potentially attending quarterly block-captain meetings at the Pacific Division LAPD.
  • We also want to establish neighborhood safety watches and get official signs put up that will deter criminals. More on that soon.
  • If you are interested in being a block captain, or want to suggest a neighbor, please email us.

 

  1. Protecting Ourselves

Next we discussed the importance of what we can do, both as individuals and as a community, to protect ourselves. Please see this post and PDF download handout that outlines actions we can take now to deter and prevent crime. There are things all of us can do to make our homes and communities safer, as well as show the LAPD that we are doing all we can to help them in their fight against crime.

 

  1. Pacific Division LAPD Presentation

We were fortunate enough to have three members of the LAPD in attendance at the meeting:

  • Sergeant Kevin Lowe, Supervisor of Pacific Division’s Senior Lead Officers
  • Officer Pete Abskharon, Police Officer II, LAPD Community Relations Office
  • Officer Peggy Thusing, Senior Lead Officer for our neighborhood

Thank you to these officers for caring so much about our neighborhood!

The officers provided some insight into crime in our neighborhood, including some alarming statistics—about 80 percent of robberies, in both cars and homes, are the result of opportunism, unlocked doors and windows. This understandably greatly dismays the LAPD and we can all work to lower this statistic!

The LAPD understands our pleas and admitted that the Venice force is lacking in resources. Some good news:

  • Last week there was a crucial court decision that will now allow LAPD to arrest people for sleeping in the Venice Boardwalk Beach Park, a new development. We will post more about the relevant court decisions on our blog in the near future. Please note that you can sign up to receive notifications every time there is a new blog post, separate from being on our email newsletter list, a less frequent communication.
  • The LAPD also recently got approval for 10 additional officers assigned to the Pacific Division, bringing the total from 22 to 32, almost a 100% increase. These new officers will be hitting the streets in coming weeks.
  • Councilman Mike Bonin seems to be listening to the pleas of the Venice residents and the LAPD about the need for increased and improved handling of crime in our area.

The AKT organizing committee believes that while some or most of us may have grievances with the LAPD and perhaps our own stories about their lack of response and/or mishandling of incidents, we need to work with them, not against them. They have exceedingly hard jobs, and rather than focus on what they’re not doing, let’s look at what we can do to help and advocate for change. There is obviously a lack of LAPD resources in Venice and at the meeting we saw that the officers in attendance shared our frustration in this.

So please make your voice heard—if you have not yet expressed your concern to Councilman Mike Bonin, Mayor Eric Garcetti, and the LAPD please click here for their email addresses and a draft email. The more of us that demand changes, the greater chance of seeing results!

The LAPD provided two handouts to the group:

 

  1. In Conclusion

The AKT organizing committee knows that as a community we have a lot of frustration built up due to the overwhelming issues we all face daily. We get it, and that’s why we’re putting in so much work to organize our neighborhood. We plan to get your input, suggestions and issues of concern moving forward so that we address what you want to see change and get accomplished. Let’s all work together to make a change!

Please:

Thanks again for taking an active part to help us unit and protect our neighborhood!

—Organizing committee, the Abbot Kinney Triangle Neighborhood Association

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