LONG BEACH (CBSLA) — The Long Beach Police Department is starting a new program in the Washington neighborhood that will put officers patrolling the streets on foot to have more personal interactions with residents in hopes of building trust and reducing crime.
“We’re here to help. At the end of the day we’re here to make sure crime is reduced as much as possible,” said Officer Carlos Sandoval.READ MORE: Man Fatally Shot In Officer-Involved Shooting In San Fernando
In the Washington neighborhood, where crime is higher than in other parts of Long Beach, police officers are knocking on doors, taking extra steps to fight crime with their new Neighborhood Walls programs.
These officers are hitting the pavement to get more one-on-one interaction with people who live and work in the community.
“Get to know them on a first-name basis and just reach out, build that trust between the police department and the community,” Sandoval said.READ MORE: Man Fatally Shot In Rowland Heights
Long Beach police say the number of crimes like murder, aggravated assaults and property crimes have all gone up in the Washington neighborhood since January but there’s been a 120% spike in shootings, where someone was struck.
Police hope the Neighborhood Walks program will help bring those crime numbers down and combat mistrust in law enforcement.
“Whether they’re scared or they don’t trust the police, or they’ve had negative interactions, we’re trying to make those positive interactions so they know that no matter what, they can always call us,” Sandoval said.
Residents and others who work in the community said they were in favor of the increased patrol due to gang activity that sometimes happens in the neighborhood.MORE NEWS: LAUSD Begins Phased-In Reopening Starting This Week
The Neighborhood Walks program will run through May 1, and police hope to expand it to other neighborhoods throughout Long Beach soon.