LAPD, Trutanich add more muscle around USC

usc-students-killed-nt.jpgThink this is serious? Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, LAPD Chief Charlie Beck and the president of USC, C.L. Max Nikias, all threw a press conference this morning to try to assure parents, students and potential students — here and abroad — that the neighborhood around the campus is safe. Their lede is that 30 more LAPD officers will be assigned to the LAPD's Southwest division. Though, that's actually just four in the neighborhoods directly around USC, the LA Times says.

More video cameras and security escorts are also part of the strategy announced, as well as a detective to be a liaison with USC's campus security force and more use of computer-aided models to help predict crime area. “We will make this the safest campus of any urban campus,” Beck said.

The measures are a response to the murders on April 11 of Chinese graduate students Ming Qu, 23, and Ying Wu, 23, while they sat in his car about a mile from campus. The killings came as admitted students are deciding which colleges to attend and prompted a lot of news coverage in China. USC is, I believe, the U.S. campus with the most international students, or close to it.

Also, City Attorney Carmen A. Trutanich announced today he is dedicating a Neighborhood Prosecutor to the University of Southern California campus and surrounding communities, citing the recent murders. His office also said that prosecutors with the Citywide Nuisance Abatement Program and anti-gang section "will address gang and narcotics related nuisance activities occurring on the streets or linked to vacant or occupied properties in the neighborhoods adjacent to USC."

As a USC alumnus, I am very familiar with the campus and the issues in the surrounding community, and I am obviously very saddened by the tragic deaths of the students. I will do everything within my power, not just at USC, but throughout the City, to focus whatever resources are available to my Office to prosecute violent and predatory crimes that threaten our students and residents before they escalate into more serious crimes, including murder.

Can you tell Trutanich is currently running for DA? By the way, his campaign today announced the endorsement of Gov. Jerry Brown.

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