LOS ANGELES (CN) – Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck said Tuesday that an analysis of emergency call data revealed a decrease in 911 calls from two predominantly Hispanic areas of the city, bolstering concerns that undocumented immigrants are wary of contacting police out of fear of deportation.
Beck noted the decrease at a Police Commission meeting at LAPD Headquarters and said there had been some “shifts in Hispanic relationships with the police department” since President Donald Trump took office.
“When we did analysis of 911 calls we noted that while 911 calls are up about 1 percent citywide, they're down 10 percent in Hollenbeck and about 6 ½ percent in Rampart, two divisions that are normally very, very busy and are majority-Hispanic. So there are a number of things that we may see evolve because of federal policies,” Beck said Tuesday.
Hollenbeck division includes the neighborhoods of Boyle Heights, El Sereno, and Lincoln Heights, while the Rampart Division includes Westlake, Pico-Union and Echo Park.
In March, Beck said domestic violence reports had decreased 10 percent in the Latino community and sexual assault reports fell 25 percent compared to the previous year. The LAPD did not find a similar decline in reporting in other minority groups, he said.
Beck said at the time that it was too early to blame the decrease on the actions of the Trump administration. He called the report an “outlier,” said there was not a “direct nexus” to federal immigration policies but instead a “strong correlation.”
The police chief mentioned the emergency call analysis in response to a question from the president of the civilian oversight board, Matthew Johnson.
Johnson had asked Beck if enrollments in the LAPD's cadet program, which is almost 90 percent Hispanic, were down compared to previous years.
Beck said that federal policies had not affected recruitment. The LAPD has 8,411 cadets in the program, and Beck said it helps the department “relate with the community and establish legitimacy.”
Without naming the president by name, Beck said current federal policies could have a knock-on effect on the cadet's program and that the department would “watch that very carefully.”
“Though I have to say the cadet program is very self-perpetuating. You know success breeds success in these kind of programs, and certainly we've seen that continuing,” Beck said.
The police chief also spoke briefly about lower than expected turnout at Monday’s May Day rally and march. Labor and immigrant groups that organized the march had expected 100,000 people to attend. Beck confirmed the turnout was 15,000.
“I'm not quite sure why we didn't get more,” Beck said.
Beck, Mayor Eric Garcetti, and other city officials have repeatedly stated they will not cooperate with Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s efforts to deport undocumented immigrants living in the city. According to the Pew Research Center, 375,000 undocumented immigrants reside in Los Angeles.
In the first 100 days of his presidency, Trump signed an executive order to withdraw federal funds from “sanctuary” cities and gave federal immigration officers the power to detain immigrants who have committed a crime or are in the United States without documentation. Trump has also vowed to build a border wall between the United States and Mexico.
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