Los Angeles Police Chief William Bratton is promising that crime in his city will drop 8 percent this year, the Los Angeles Times reports. His officers will make an aggressive effort in high-crime areas such as skid row, which he compared to New York’s Times Square in the early 1990s. Bratton, who then was New York police commissioner, is credited with helping begin a major turnaround at Times Square, which became a tourist destination and the backdrop for TV programs. He plans to lead a delegation of L.A. officials and business leaders to New York this month to look at the Times Square policing effort. The tour will focus on a community court New York set up to deal with offenders quickly. A California senator has proposed establishing a similar court in L.A.’s skid row.
L.A. plans to begin arresting skid row denizens who repeatedly block sidewalks. A drug bust last month that led to the arrest of actor Brad Renfro and the forced closure this week of a liquor store are the first of several major operations designed to break down the thriving drug trade and curtail businesses that attract crime downtown. Police plan to expand the number of hidden cameras in the area from 20 to 68. Bratton and Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa spoke yesterday at a news conference to tout the LAPD’s meeting the chief’s goal of a 10 percent drop in major crimes in 2005.