Democratic Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti has called for a modest 3 percent increase in law enforcement funding despite calls from “defund the police” advocates, after an 80 percent spike in shootings this year.
Still, the policing budget is lower than the $1.85 billion that Garcetti budgeted in 2020 for the LAPD.
“We are hopeful that City Council is committed to rebuilding the department as well,” he said, according to the outlet.
An aide to the mayor said at an April 20 briefing that the decision to give the police budget a modest boost was partly prompted by rising crime, according to the LA Times.
LAPD crime statistics for the week ending April 10 showed that shootings were up 80 percent compared to the same period last year, homicides were up 28 percent, and aggravated assaults had increased by 14 percent.
Garcetti, too, made reference to rising crime rates during his State of the City address, during which he unveiled much of his spending plan, which he called a “justice budget.”
“The first job of the city is to guarantee a life without fear,” he said. “That’s all the more important to remember during a year when across America, homicides are rising.
“So parts of the guarantee in this budget are familiar, like making sure 911 calls are answered right away. But other parts mean pushing the envelope, investing in the alternatives to policing that prevent crime and interrupt cycles of violence.
“When situations don’t need guns, let’s not send guns.
“This justice budget funds a new approach we’re calling TURN: Therapeutic Unarmed Response for Neighborhoods,” which involves sending clinicians instead of police officers to respond to nonviolent mental health emergencies.
Garcetti’s budget also allocates $32.5 million to the Gang Reduction and Youth Development program, which involves intervention officers—some of whom are former gang members—providing mentoring to young people to keep them from joining gangs.
The “justice budget” also allocates $2 million for so-called peace and healing centers.
The spending plan still requires city council approval.