The recent uptick of violence in Boyle Heights is likely to be the focus of a community dialogue to be hosted tonight by the Hollenbeck Division of the Los Angeles Police Department.

The event is part of a series titled “Days of Dialogue on the Future of Policing” organized by the Institute for Nonviolence in Los Angeles as part of the 50th anniversary of the Watts riots. But several fatal shootings, hit-and-run accidents and other violent crimes –which are on the rise in Boyle Heights– are expected to be the focus of tonight’s dialogue.

In an interview last week with BHB, Captain Martín Baeza of the Hollenbeck division said that most of the violent crime in the area is the result of gang activity.

“This is what we’re facing right now,” Baeza said, “and we have to work together to address the bigger issue of why these young men and women are carrying shotguns and why they’re shooting at each other. I’ve had more than 30 shootings occur from January until current date, and I can tell you that most of that is gang related, and it’s a tragedy.”

Baeza said LAPD is addressing the issue with increased patrolling, “but that’s not the solution, the solution is to work with our community partners to try to get these kids out of this violent lifestyle.”

Baeza added that the Days of Dialogue event would be a good opportunity to address the issues of concerns of the Boyle Heights community.

“We’re going to talk about the recent uptick of violence in our community, how we can work together and how we can address this trend in the spirit of shared responsibility.”

The Days of Dialogue event will be held Thursday, Feb. 18, from 6 to 8 p.m at the Puente Learning Center, 501 South Boyle Avenue. The event is open to the public.

Boyle Heights Beat

Boyle Heights Beat is a bilingual community newspaper produced by its youth "por y para la comunidad". The newspaper and its sister website serve an immigrant neighborhood in East Los Angeles of just under...

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