Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck states that reports of sexual assault and domestic violence made by the city’s Latino residents have plummeted this year amid concerns that immigrants in the country illegally could risk deportation by interacting with police or testifying in court.
Beck said reports of sexual assault have dropped 25% among the city’s Latino population since the beginning of 2017 compared with the same period last year, adding that reports of domestic violence have fallen by 10%. Similar decreases were not seen in reports of those crimes by other ethnic groups, Beck said.
“Imagine, a young woman, imagine your daughter, your sister, your mother … not reporting a sexual assault, because they are afraid that their family will be torn apart,” Beck said.
Beck’s comments — which drew criticism from immigration enforcement advocates — came during an event in East Los Angeles in which Mayor Eric Garcetti signed an executive directive expanding the LAPD’s policy of not stopping people solely to question them about their immigration status to three other city agencies: the Fire Department, Airport Police and Port Police. The LAPD stopped initiating contacts with people in order to determine their immigration status in 1979. In 2014, the city ceased honoring requests from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement to hold people in custody for possible deportation.
“We want to focus on serious crime, but we also want to focus on making more citizens, not more criminals,” Garcetti said.
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