SAN PEDRO (CBSLA.com)  —  Los Angeles Chief Charlie Beck attended a public forum Thursday where residents got to vent about the rising crime rate in their communities.

The meeting was held in San Pedro where residents have complained that a homeless problem and worsening economy there seemed to have led to a spike in crime.

KCAL9’s Rachel Kim attended the forum.

“Break ins, car thefts, graffiti, vandalism, all that kind of stuff,” said one resident.

“It is a little disconcerting,” said one woman.

Beck talked about the citywide crime spike: Violent crime in LA jumped 20 percent, property crime went up 10 per cent last year.

“This has got to be a bigger police department, we have to be able to do better,” Beck said.

Beck acknowledged  the numbers weren’t good. He says crime is going up because of an increase in homelessness and because of legislation that reduced certain felonies to misdemeanors. Those measures, he sayd, put thousands out on the streets instead of prison. Chief Beck also says one of the biggest problems is that in LA, there are only 25 officers for every 10,000 residents.

RELATED LINK: San Pedro Residents Demand More Police Protection In Face Of Rising Crime

“We cannot police this city properly with the level of cops that we have. We need to hire more police officers,” Beck said.

Justin McBride is with the Los Angeles Police Protective League, the union that represents LA police officers. He also believes crime is up because there aren’t enough officers patrolling the community.

“We have a lot of sworn personnel doing civilian jobs. There’s no reason for that. We need those sworn officers back on the street and let’s have civilians do the civilian jobs,” McBride said.

“I would like to see a lot more officers in the Harbor area,” said San Pedro resident Melissa Zeigler.

“I’ll make sure that this community gets what it deserves,” Beck concluded.

The chief also said five jails were currently closed due to civilian staffing issues but that within 36 months, that he and Mayor Garcetti would have the facilities re-opened.

 

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