Outrage stemming from high-profile burglaries, robberies and attacks has prompted West Hollywood to rehire deputies — despite crime dropping.
"We have criminals coming in from other cities, bringing weapons so it's important we have armed personnel to address those issues," said longtime West Hollywood resident Ethan Reynolds.
Last year, the City Council decided to cut the number of deputies operating in the area and instead opted to hire more unarmed security to provide a more visible presence.
"I don't see a role or purpose for the Block-by-Block ambassadors," said Reynolds.
However, the city's Mayor Pro Tempore John Erickson said crime has dropped since the ambassador program started.
West Hollywood, CA, Thursday, July 14, 2022 - The Block by Block security ambassadors program places low paid workers throughout the city in an effort to lessen the load of WeHo sheriffs.
According to crime statistics from the sheriff's department, as a whole violent crime from Jan.1 to March 31 has dropped by about 18% in the West Hollywood area — which includes the city and the unincorporated area around it — compared to the same time period in 2022. Only one category classified as violent crime, rape, increased. So far this year, there have been eight reported rapes within the city limits of West Hollywood. In 2022, there were five within the same time frame.
Unincorporated parts of West Hollywood did see an increase in violent crime compared to last year. In total, 4 violent crimes were reported to deputies compared to three in 2022.
Property crimes saw a similar trend. Through March 31, property crimes dropped by almost 11% in the West Hollywood area. However, in the unincorporated parts property crime increased from 21 to 48, a spike of 129%.
Pressured by residents, the City Council voted to bring back deputies after a series of high-profile crimes, despite the drop in crime.
"I think it's a fair compromise to make sure everyone is happy at the same time regardless of statistics," said Erickson. "We need to respond to the needs of our residents and what our businesses were saying."