Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer Friday announced the expansion of the Neighborhood Prosecutor Program to address problem “hotspots” throughout the city, with emphases on Union Station, Los Angeles International Airport, San Fernando Valley libraries, combating illegal dumping and porch package theft.
“I want everyone in the neighborhoods our neighborhood prosecutors serve to think of (them) as the neighborhood problem-solvers,” Feuer said. “In a city with many issues and neighborhoods with varying focuses, varying priorities, the most important thing that every resident wants is a city government that is solving the problems they care about the most.”
Feuer said the program has gone from eight to 28 attorneys, and five of them will focus on specific areas.
The city attorney said the neighborhood prosecutors are “embedded in our communities, listening and responding to the residents, schools and business leaders, and making a real difference in neighborhood safety and quality of life.”
Feuer said that when he started the program, he wanted to increase it significantly, but budget restrictions and a downturn in the economy prevented that.
“No neighborhood should have to put up with huge cubic yards, pounds and pounds of illegally dumped trash,” Feuer said. “For many communities, this is a top priority.”
Feuer said libraries have become hubs for homeless people, and there have been confrontations with library staff.
The attorneys focusing on specific problem areas are:
–Andrew Said, who will work with Union Station and Los Angeles Metro officials, as well as Los Angeles Police Department to interact and assist homeless people who take refuge in the station mostly between 2 a.m. and 4 a.m;
–Claudia Martin, who will address homeless issues at LAX, where Feuer said 100 to 150 homeless people live frequently;
–Khalil Rasheed, who will address illegal dumping issues, particularly in South Los Angeles;
–Todd Gilman, who will work with libraries in the North San Fernando Valley to increase safety and enhance staff training.
“These projects assigned to these great neighborhood prosecutors exemplify why this program is so important,” Feuer said.
Feuer said taking legal action to address the issues is an option, but for the most part, the program is intended to solve problems at a mediation level.
The city attorney said his office will track metrics of effectiveness of the programs, and they have conducted surveys of local community members on whether their efforts have made a difference. Feuer also said the prosecutors work out of police stations and work closely with City Council members.
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