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BRATTON WAGES WAR ON GANGS LAPD CHIEF SAYS MULTIAGENCY TASK FORCE WILL FOCUS EFFORTS ON SOUTH L.A.

Byline: Mariel Garza Staff Writer

Police Chief William Bratton declared war Tuesday against street gangs in South Los Angeles, saying he planned to lock up as many of the major players as possible this summer.

A task force of local and federal law enforcement officers has already begun the concentrated effort in South Los Angeles, which Bratton said had proportionately more gang shootings and killings than other areas of Los Angeles.

Standing with Mayor James Hahn and officials from the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Drug Enforcement Agency, Bratton displayed guns, drugs and ammunition confiscated by the task force during recent operations that targeted four separate gangs.

Bratton vowed that there would be more arrests to add to the 59 made in the last month.

``This is just the beginning,'' Bratton said. ``What we are attempting to do going into the summer months is throw a number of these gangs off guard.''

Hahn praised Bratton and the representatives from the FBI and DEA for their efforts.

``We are so grateful these guns have been taken off the streets. These guns will no longer kill people,'' Hahn said.

While South Los Angeles has experienced a 19.5 percent decrease in gang crime during the first five months of 2003, it, along with the city's central region, has been known as the city's hotbed for gang activity.

By comparison, the LAPD's Central Bureau, which includes East Los Angeles, has seen a 14.3 percent increase in gang crime, while the Valley Bureau has seen an 8 percent increase, according to LAPD statistics.

Bratton said the South Bureau is receiving the bulk of the anti-gang focus because that's where much of the gang activity has been going on recently. However, there are other LAPD anti-gang efforts working on ``whittling'' down gang activity in other parts of the city, he said.

The LAPD's gang-related crime statistics include homicide, shootings, carjackings and other serious crimes.

Mariel Garza, (213) 978-0390

Mariel.Garza(at)dailynews.com
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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Article Type:Statistical Data Included
Date:Jul 9, 2003
Words:330
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