Early one morning last week, 37 Los Angeles police units made searches and arrests involving two street gangs in 37 different places within a few square miles.
The Los Angeles Times says the LAPD is emphasizing such operations. As part of a strategy pushed by Chief William J. Bratton, police are trying to serve more search warrants and are conducting larger raids. Twenty-eight people were arrested in last week’s action, most on suspicion of drug-related or weapons-related crimes.
“It’s not efficient and not good policing to just respond to calls,” said Commander Jim Tatreau. He said search warrants “put you into people’s homes, cars and hangouts. Nothing is sacred.”
Besides catching wrongdoers, the search warrant operations are meant to prevent crime. Police say such efforts yield clues to other crimes – a gun confiscated here, a tip offered by a suspect there. In addition, the large operations are meant to improve community relations.
Not everyone is enthusiastic. Ronald Swan, a 56-year-old blind veteran of the Vietnam War, said officers “come out making a big scene, but they don’t give the youngsters here a job,” he said. “Why not bust the people who are bringing the drugs in, instead of these young kids? There are drugs in white areas too, you know.”