LA County Highlights Violence Prevention

Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas with Los Angeles County and City officials at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Center for Public Health highlighted ongoing and upcoming services to prevent violence. Photo by Dave Franco / Board of Supervisors

With communities still reeling from the Nipsey Hussle murder, Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, along with Los Angeles County and City officials, highlighted ongoing and upcoming services to prevent violence.

The Supervisor and LA County Public Health Director Dr. Barbara Ferrer also launched the Office of Violence Prevention, an announcement warmly welcomed by LA City Police Chief Michel Moore and Councilmember Marqueece Harris-Dawson.

Supervisor Ridley-Thomas speaks at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Center for Public Health. Photo by Dave Franco / Board of Supverisors

“I declare without reservation, qualification,  and an ounce of doubt that violence is absolutely preventable,” Supervisor Ridley-Thomas said. “The Office of Violence Prevention’s efforts will be focused on working upstream to address the root causes of violence, to preempt it from occurring.”

The announcement, planned months ago to commemorate National Public Health Week, took on new significance and urgency after the recent uptick in gun violence, including the recent shooting of the Grammy-nominated rapper, Nipsey Hussle

“Far too many people in LA County are being injured and killed whether it be by homicide, suicide, or intimate partner violence,” said Dr.  Ferrer. “This violence is preventable. It takes community voices and multi-sector collaboration to promote healing and address one of the most pressing public health issues of current times.”

Kids having fun during an LA County Parks After Dark program. Photo by Mayra B. Vasquez / Los Angeles County

“The murder of Nipsey Hussle this week was one devastating reminder that violence can rip families and communities apart,” said Councilman Harris-Dawson. “We desperately need to address all of the ways that violence impacts our communities. I am proud to stand with the County to get to work.”

“Too many times, people view law enforcement as just going after the offender when, in reality, our work is much broader and includes the prevention of crime and the protection of victims,” Chief Moore said. “Trauma can have a lasting impact and, too often, our officers do not have the resources to really help people  recover from those types of tragedy.”

“With the Office of Violence Prevention, I’m encouraged for the first time that the County of Los Angeles is etablishing a means to identify resources that exist, gaps that need to be filled, and coordinate the delivery of all those services to a County of more than 10 million people,” he added. “I’m encouraged that this type of innovation is going to result in Angelenos getting the necessary treatment and services that will help reduce and eliminate this cycle of violence.”

Besides the press conference, the event also featured a Community Dialogue on Violence, Trauma and Healing, as well as a tour of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Healing and Trauma Prevention Center in Willowbrook.