Monday, December 22, 2008

Holiday Lead Toy Exchange Program

This past Saturday, December 20, the City Attorney’s Office sponsored four successful lead toy exchanges at sites across the City of Los Angeles. Because there are no safe levels of lead, City Attorney Office's has worked tirelessly to protect Angelenos from the dangers of lead in the home, and in consumer products.

Dozens of families brought toys to be tested at each of the four sites across the city: Ritchie Valens Park in Pacoima, Stoner Recreation Center in Mar Vista, Hollenbeck Recreation Center in Boyle Heights and Green Meadows Recreation Center in South Los Angeles.

Toys that were found to contain lead were exchanged for a $25.00 American Express gift card.

Lead has been listed since 1987 on the Governor's list of chemicals that can cause reproductive harm and birth defects, and since 1992 has been on the list of chemicals known to cause cancer. Exposure to lead occurs chiefly from ingestion, such as eating or putting objects into the mouth, putting young children particularly at risk.

Impacts include birth defects, learning disabilities, hearing loss, reduced attention span, and behavioral abnormalities. Teenagers also can suffer adverse effects, which include brain damage, kidney damage, hearing loss, and impaired growth.

Our thanks to our partners in this effort -the Healthy Homes Collaborative, the Center for Environmental Health and other community-based environmental advocacy organizations.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Graffiti-Free Zone wins National Award

The Met-Life Foundation bestowed its annual “Met-Life Foundation Community-Police Partnership Award” to a team of dedicated neighborhood stakeholders consisting of the City Attorney’s Safe Neighborhoods Division prosecutors, the Newton Community Division officers of the Los Angeles Police Department, and the team at the Coalition for Responsible Community Development (CRCD) on Friday, December 5, 2008.

The award was in recognition for the “Graffiti-Free Zone” project.
This award, administered by Local Initiatives Support Coalition (LISC) and the Met-Life Foundation, is a prestigious one, handed out only after a nationwide search to find those singular projects that truly embody the concept of ‘‘community.” The ceremony took place at Newton Station, located on historic Central Avenue. Council Member Jan Perry and representatives of the Mayor’s office were also on hand to congratulate the CRCD, the LAPD and the City Attorney’s Office.

The “Graffiti-Free Zone” project was a team effort that targeted a one-mile square area in Los Angeles’ Central Avenue neighborhood where, for years, heavy graffiti plagued the buildings and served as a daily visual reminder to the community of its struggles with gangs, violence, vandalism and crime. This partnership to eliminate graffiti brings together a diverse group of youth and adults committed to a comprehensive graffiti and gang abatement strategy designed to increase neighborhood safety and beauty.

Today, in no small part due to the efforts of the organizations like the CRCD, stakeholders in the community, and, of course, the prosecutors and staff of the City Attorney’s Safe Neighborhoods Division, Central Avenue is flourishing under this community policing project –The Graffiti-Free Zone.
Special recognition is due to Newton Neighborhood Prosecutor Minah Park, Anne Tremblay, Rita Venegas, and the entire Safe Neighborhoods Division. Additional thanks, for their continued partnership and assistance, to the CRCD, the LISC and the Met Life Foundation for their continued dedication to the communities of Los Angeles.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Internet Safety Awareness Campaign

The City Attorney Office announced earlier today with the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC) and the Salesian Boys and Girls Club, the kick off the City of Los Angeles’ Child Abuse and Internet Safety Awareness PSA Campaign. The campaign is designed to raise awareness, prevent child sexual exploitation, and promote Internet safety.

In Los Angeles County alone, the number of child abuse reports has soared to more than 160,000 annually. Studies show that children who experience abuse and neglect are 59% more likely to be arrested as a juvenile, and childhood abuse and neglect increase the likelihood of adult criminal behavior by 28% and violent crime by 30%. More than 68% of adult male felons were victims of child abuse and neglect before the age of 12, with 64.5% experiencing physical abuse.

Research indicates that 1 in 5 girls and 1 in 10 boys will be sexually victimized before they reach adulthood. Also, according to the latest online victimization research, about 1 in 7 youth online (10 to 17 years-old) received a sexual solicitation or approach over the Internet.

The new PSA campaign hopes to combat these often unrecognized and underreported issues, by increasing the visibility of available resources. The City Attorney’s Office will begin distributing five posters created by NCMEC and city prosecutors will distribute these poster-size flyers to various community organizations, libraries, community centers and schools so that they can be seen by parents and members of the community throughout LA County.

Through this campaign, the City Attorney’s Office hopes to convey three main messages:

  • Child sexual exploitation is a major problem.
  • If you suspect child abuse or child sexual exploitation, report it to law enforcement.
  • After you have reported the exploitation to law enforcement, it is very important to notify the NCMEC.

The NCMEC encourages the public to access prevention information and report these crimes against children through NCMEC's Hotline (1-800-843-5678) or online at

You can also visit the City Attorney's Child Abuse Policy Division for information and updates on the work of the City Attorney's Office on behalf of children.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

San Fernando Valley Children's Day, a Salute to Kids

On November 22nd the San Fernando Valley Coalition on Gangs hosted Children’s Day – a Salute to Kids, at Woodley Park in Van Nuys.

While celebrating children, the event also served to make children and their parents aware of various programs that can keep children out of gangs.

The event – which surpassed everyone’s expectations, with nearly 50,000 people in attendance – began with a parade of 1,000 children and three high school bands, in addition to the carnival rides, petting zoo and food vendors.

A resource fair of 60 organizations offered recreational and educational activities for kids. Other features were Radio Disney, the David Beckham Soccer Academy, the Lakers, the Avengers and a space museum. Teen idol Aaron Carter appeared on the main stage while pre-school idol Elmo gave hugs and posed for pictures with more than 3,000 tots and their parents.

Proceeds from the event will be used to fund gang prevention and intervention activities.

A special thanks to Community Resource Specialist Sandy Kievman for her work on the organizing committee for the event and contributing to its success!