In February 2021, the Long Beach Police Department launched the Neighborhood Walks program to increase engagement between our community and police officers at a neighborhood level. Patrol officers in select neighborhoods devoted their shift to interacting with residents, community- and faith-based organizations, and local businesses. Funded through the Long Beach Safety Recovery Plan, officers assigned to the Neighborhood Walks program focused on continuing to cultivate strong relationships within the neighborhood and address community concerns.
These outreach and community engagement efforts were beneficial in reducing violent crime in the areas where these programs took place. The pilot program took place in West Division’s Washington Neighborhood from Feb. 27, 2021 through May 1, 2021. During this preliminary iteration of the program, 300 individuals were contacted, calls for service in the area increased by 4.1%, and while there was no change in the total number of firearm assaults, hit shootings decreased by 66%. The success of the program isn’t just measured by the absence of crime, moreover our community’s sense of safety through partnered problem-solving is an imperative gauge of the program’s effectiveness.
Following the pilot program, the three remaining patrol divisions conducted their Neighborhood Walks. Their initial statistics are as follows:
North Division Neighborhood Walks ran from June 15, 2021 to Aug. 31. 2021:
Total People Contacted: 1,442
Calls for Service: Decreased by 4.2%
Firearm Assaults: Decreased by 20%
Rotary Park Neighborhood Walks (East Division) ran from Oct. 5, 2021 to March 10, 2022:
Total People Contacted: 1,372
Calls for Service: Decreased by 5.2%
Firearm Assaults: Decreased by 33%
East Village Neighborhood Walks (South Division) ran from March 31, 2022 to May 24, 2022:
Total People Contacted: 1,048
Calls for Service: Increased by 4.2%
Firearm Assaults: No change
“Our community policing philosophy is fluid, and we strive to ensure it remains relevant in today’s environment,” said Police Chief Wally Hebeish. “I am extremely proud of the engagement we observed during the Neighborhood Walks program and I am happy to announce we are moving into the next phase of the LBPD Neighborhood Walks program.”
To learn more about the Neighborhood Walks program, please visit here: www.longbeach.gov/police/crime-info/neighborhood-walks/.