Bristow Park in the City of Commerce is one of the busiest facilities in the city, but an increase in illegal activity there has residents worried about their safety.
The park borders East Los Angeles and according to city officials, many of the people who use the facility are not Commerce residents but come from nearby cities.
Residents say the park area has become more dangerous in recent months. They want the city council to take action to turn things around.
Commerce contracts its law enforcement services out to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. Many of the services and patrol officers are based at the East Los Angeles Sheriff’s Station. Now, a special task force – the Commerce Special Assignment Team – with deputies from the Sheriff’s Department, has been formed and given the job of coming up with a strategic plan for combating the area’s spike in crime.
Council members Tina Baca Del Rio and Ivan Altamirano told EGP the goal of the Bristow Park Action Plan is to “reduce the criminal activity in the park and improve the quality of the park experience.”
“…There is gang activity that seems to come in waves, and we have to address it for the safety of all involved,” Baca Del Rio told EGP via email.
As of now, the proposed strategy calls for additional sheriff patrol checks, black and white decoy vehicles, identification of transients in the area and tougher enforcement of laws, among other elements.
Commerce City Administrator Jorge Rifa said the first thing the Special Team did was survey area residents to come up with a list of priorities to be implemented.
“The principal concern of residents are people loitering in the park,” Rifa told EGP Tuesday. “As we move this [plan] forward we will stay open as to what the safety needs are,” Rifa said. “If it works properly we will implement it in all the [city’s] parks,” he added.
Sheriff’s deputies have already started work on some elements of the Bristow Park Plan, such as stepped up enforcement of Commerce’s “Zero Tolerance policy as it pertains to alcohol/drugs in and around the park,” Altamirano told EGP by email.
Baca Del Rio says she intends to closely monitor the program and that she and council members Altamirano and [Lilia R.] Leon will continue to visit Bristow Park residents “for their continued dialogue.”
The Special Assignment Team is scheduled to present its plan in greater detail at the Jan. 21 City Council meeting.
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