SAN PEDRO (CBSLA.com) — San Pedro residents took to the streets Saturday to protest a spike in violent crime in the area.
The protesters also told CBS2’s Joy Benedict they blame the police for the uptick.
Community leaders demanded more patrols.
They chanted, “Hear our voice!”
And they demanded change.
“When do we want it? Now!”
They marched in front of the Harbor Police station in San Pedro. The group made it clear they aren’t mad at the police, they want more of them.
“Our quality of life is being destroyed because we don’t have the police resources,” said Robert Campbell, a demonstrator.
Campbell gave up his Saturday morning hoping the city of Los Angeles is listening.
“This isn’t the most affluent part of Los Angeles, that doesn’t mean any of us deserve any less security,” Campbell said.
The group “Save San Pedro” has two demands.
First, they want more officers. They say there are only five patrol cars patrolling the 11 square mile area.
“They’re constantly chasing the radio,” said one man.
Demonstrators said the police are so busy with non-violence times they don’t have the manpower to focus on other crimes.
“[They have to deal with] loitering, loud music, smoking marijuana,” said neighbor Shelley Ponciano.
“People shooting up in front of schools in broad daylight,” said Campbell.
The second issue? A multi-million dollar let down.
“We need our jail open and we need our officers back,” said one woman.
The LAPD opened the doors to a San Pedro jail in 2008, but about a year later closed the facility because of budget cuts — that was 8 years ago and its never been re-staffed.
Translation? When officers in San Pedro make an arrest, they have to drive 20 miles to South LA to process the booking.
“It takes about 4 or 5 hours. And they don’t get a replacement once they’re out of the area,” said protester George Palaziol.
This leaves officers with a choice — make an arrest or leave the community unprotected.
“We deserve the city services we pay for and we’re not getting them,” Campbell said.
So the group told Benedict, they will keep making noise until they do.