Community leaders gathered at the Peterson automotive Museum this morning to meet Los Angeles Police Department’s Wilshire Division Captains Rolando Solano and Patricia Sandoval. In March, Captain Solano took over the Wilshire division from Captain Howard Leslie, who served in the post for three years before being transferred to Central Division.
“I am your commanding officer,” Solano told the group. “It’s my honor and privilege to serve this community.”
Wilshire Division is one of 21 geographic division of LAPD, covering more than 150,000 residents living between La Cienega and Crenshaw Blvds., from the Santa Monica Freeway to Melrose Avenue. Solano, a 26-year veteran of LAPD whose wife also works for the department, grew up in the area and attended Loyola High School and Cal State Northridge. He said he had worked his way up the ranks of the department, spending time on patrol, in West Traffic Division and also in special operations.
Solano reported that crime across the city and the country is up. In Los Angeles, the homicide rate is up 1%; violent crime is up 16% and property crime up 15%. According to Solano, violent crime tends to occur in the southern end of Wilshire Division, and there is more property crime reported in northern part, near Mid-Wilshire.
Solano described three components of policing: victims, locations and suspects. If the police are successful in disrupting one of those three, crime rates will go down. For example, using the tool of predictive policing, which forecasts areas where more crimes may occur based on past statistics, LAPD can deploy more officers to a location, therefore discouraging criminal activity. Solano said predictive policing appears to work better for reducing property crimes. The recent uptick in property crimes in Hancock Park was raised in the question-and-answer session, with several questions about what LAPD is doing to make it easier for victims to report property crimes so the statistics are more accurate. According to Solano, the department is test piloting on online reporting system.
Captain Patricia Sandoval also addressed the group. Sandoval has been at Wilshire Division for just over five months. She is a 28-year veteran of the department, where she has worked as a patrol officer and as a detective. Her husband is also on the police force. Sandoval pointed to the Senior Lead Officers at the meeting as a great resource for the community. SLOs Hebel Rodriguez and Dave Cordova who cover our neighborhoods were both in attendance.
“We can handle most problems with a conversation,” said Sandoval, encouraging community leaders to make suggestions about how LAPD can improve communications.” I am here to support the Chief (Police Chief Charlie Beck) and restore trust in the department,” added Sandoval.
Sergeant A.J. Kirby, Wilshire Area Community Relations Office, thanked Terry Karges, Executive Director of the Petersen Automotive Museum for hosting and announced the next roundtable meeting would be November 9.