Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Good news in Compton

The CPT hasn't gotten much good news or much good publicity in years. But, the Clarion Content has some. Compton's murder rate has plunged to its lowest level in twenty five years. An era so long ago that it predates N.W.A.'s seminal, "Straight out of Compton." Compton still has its gangs, according to the LA Times as many as 65 gangs jammed into ten square miles shared amongst 100,000 people. But despite that, Compton has seen homicides drop by more than 50% since 2005. The LA Times senses a turn in the tide, "Indeed, there is a palpable sense that the streets are safer. In a neighborhood called Sunny Cove, residents take a group walk on Mondays now, unthinkable a few years back. Owens' church (Faith Inspirational Missionary Baptist Church) offers free movies in local parks; the program started slowly, but 900 people came out for the most recent screening, at Lueders Park off Rosecrans Avenue."

The LA Times says the key has been community style policing. In the 1980's the police actions resembled that of an occupying military force. Now the number of, "station volunteers (has risen) from 10 to 55, and reserve deputies from just one previously to eight. Neighborhood Watch and business watch programs are popping up all over town."

It was the will of the people to take their streets back, non-violently that made the difference. The comments attached to the LA Times article are quite inspiring. It is a heartwarming story made possible by people who cared (including cops and the local sheriff's department.)

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