UPI team at the launch of the Community Safety Partnership in Harvard Park

Promoting Safety in South Los Angeles

With four recent homicides on the border of Harvard Park in the last year alone, it became clear a new safety strategy was needed in this long overlooked South Los Angeles community. Together, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck, and Councilmember Marqueece Harris-Dawson recently announced the expansion of the innovative Community Safety Partnership model to address rising violence.

The Urban Peace Institute will lead efforts to expand the Community Safety Partnership by first guiding a three-month community needs assessment effort to engage over 500 residents and stakeholders. “This assessment will be an essential tool in capturing community voice and reflecting their vision to increase public safety,” commented Urban Peace Institute Executive Director Fernando Rejón. This effort will also prove crucial in developing effective violence reduction strategies, as this majority Latino community has historically lacked representation in guiding community initiatives.

The Urban Peace Institute will then train 25 law enforcement officers, who will make a five-year commitment to serving the Harvard Park community. Our trainings will focus on promoting effective relationship based policing strategies to build trust between residents and officers. “We will work alongside this community until this community has control over its own safety,” said Police Chief Charlie Beck.

The expansion to Harvard Park will leverage our past success in leading the Community Safety Partnership in four underserved public housing communities in Watts and Boyle Heights. In Watts, violent crime has now decreased by more than 70% in the housing developments, and youth arrests have been cut in half. The Community Safety Partnership’s effective track record has also led to the philanthropic support of the Weingart Foundation and the Ballmer Group for this new effort.