By Jose Martinez, 5/18/2011
Concerns Include Graffiti, Gangs and Burglaries
The second Night Out community event was held Tuesday in an attempt to get residents in the Wilshire Center/Koreatown area to get to know one another, as well as local elected officials and officers from their neighborhood.
A crowd of approximately 50 people gathered in a parking lot at the southwest corner of W. 8th Street and S. Vermont Avenue as residents mingled with members of the LAPD’s Olympic Division and discussed concerns, such as gangs and graffiti.
“We want the community to come together, the Korean population and the Latino population,” said Yonah Hong, community affairs specialist with Community Redevelopment Agency of Los Angeles (CRA/LA). “That’s what makes Los Angeles so beautiful, the diversity.”
Organized by the Unification of Disabled Latin Americans (UDLA), CRA/LA, the Wilshire Center Business Improvement Corporation, and the Wilshire Center/Koreatown Neighborhood Council, with support from the Olympic Community-Police Advisory Board and the LAPD Olympic Station, the event was seen by organizers as an opportunity for everyone to come together.
The more partnerships that can be formed with the community, the more crimes that will be prevented or solved, according to Cho.
“This is a great opportunity to interact with the residents in a healthy atmosphere,” said Officer Harry Cho, of the LAPD’s Olympic Division. “We deal with the community on a daily basis and the neighborhood has gotten better.
Violent crimes are down. This is a total positive night for the community and the department.”
One specific problem in the area has been a string of commercial burglaries.
Officers advised merchants to install good working interior and exterior video cameras to assist in discouraging crime and apprehending criminals.
According to Ruben Hernandez, president and founder of UDLA, a non-profit organization founded in 1974 by and for physically challenged and developmentally disabled individuals and their families, only positive things can come from members of the same community coming together.
“This brings together the whole community, which helps reduce crime, graffiti, gangs and drugs,” Hernandez said. “For us it is very important to unite communities and to understand that the best protection for your families and property is to know your neighbor. The more we know each other the stronger we are.”