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Hawaiian Gardens Sees Significant Decrease in Crime Rates in 2023

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January 27, 2023

By Brian Hews

In a presentation to the Hawaiian Gardens CIty Council, Lakewood Sheriff’s Captain Dan Holguin announced a huge reduction in crime rates for 2023, “a testament to the community’s dedication to safety and collaboration and a result of the hard work of residents, local law enforcement, and strategic initiatives implemented to foster a secure and thriving environment.”

Mayor Victor Farfan expressed gratitude for the collective efforts that led to this positive outcome, stating, “The safety and well-being of our community have always been a top priority. We are delighted to see the tangible results of our collaborative endeavors to create safer Hawaiian Gardens for everyone.”

It was a multifaceted approach consisting of special events and community engagement initiatives thsat were crucial in fostering a sense of unity among residents. Hawaiian Gardens also acknowledged the invaluable partnership with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, whose commitment to public safety has been instrumental in achieving these positive results.

In addition to community-focused strategies, the city implemented cutting-edge technologies to enhance law enforcement capabilities. The introduction of the ShotSpotter system in 2023 resulted in faster response times to gunshot-related crimes.

ShotSpotter is operated by SoundThinking, Inc. and is officially called a Gunshot Detection, Location, and Forensics System.

The system is used by several cities in the U.S., including Chicago, New York, San Francisco, Washington, D.C., Detroit, Miami, Oakland, Milwaukee, Sacramento, Boston, and Atlanta.

ShotSpotter works by using sensors placed strategically across an area. The sensors continuously listen for impulsive sounds, similar to gunshots, using sophisticated acoustic technology to distinguish between gunfire and other loud noises.

 The sensors are placed on rooftops, utility poles, streetlights, or other elevated structures.

When a potential gunshot is detected, multiple sensors near the sound record the audio. The recorded data is sent to ShotSpotter’s centralized servers, where it undergoes analysis by both algorithms and “trained acoustic experts” to confirm whether the sound was a gunshot.

Characteristics like sound waves, acoustic patterns, time delays between sensors, and other data points are analyzed to verify the gunfire.

 By analyzing the differences in the arrival times of the sound at various sensors, ShotSpotter can triangulate the location of the gunshot event “very accurately,” usually within a few meters.

 If an actual gunshot incident does occur, ShotSpotter can detect if there are multiple firearms involved, if any of the firearms are high-capacity type firearms, or if the firearm is a fully automatic weapon.  Once the sounds of gunfire are confirmed, L.A. County Sheriff’s Deputies are notified via a digital application to their smartphone or similar device. The alerts provide access to Google Earth maps with turn-by-turn directions that geocode the closest address to help officers reach the correct location. The entire process occurs within 60 seconds or less.

176 ShotSpotter alerts were received and responded to in Hawaiian Gardens, uncovering evidence and gathering witness statements for 18 incidents. Casings recovered were processed for potential criminal prosecution, reinforcing the city’s commitment to thorough investigations.

The city also implemented the FLOCK system in 2023, contributing to 47 arrests and the recovery of stolen vehicles. This innovative system also led to a 23% decrease in grand theft auto incidents, showcasing its effectiveness in deterring criminal activity and generating valuable leads for law enforcement.

In line with its commitment to community well-being, Hawaiian Gardens addressed homelessness by cleaning up ten homeless encampments in 2023. This initiative aims to create a safer and more welcoming environment for residents and visitors.

2023 also witnessed increased community and law enforcement interaction, fostering stronger relationships and open communication channels.

Mayor Farfan stated, “The city remains steadfast in its dedication to maintaining a secure and vibrant community. As the City of Hawaiian Gardens celebrates these achievements, it looks forward to building upon these successes in collaboration with its residents and law enforcement partners.”