FBI-LAPD anti-gang task force closes 11 more murder investigations
The joint FBI-LAPD operation that is trying to cut the backlog of unsolved gang-related killings in South Los Angeles totals 43 homicide arrests in nearly three months, with 11 of those cases closed in the last day, officials said Thursday.
Officials with operation Save Our Streets said the Los Angeles County district attorney's office has filed 11 new murder charges -- and authorities have made 175 related arrests -- in connection with the intensive effort to cut down on gang crime.
The operation, which began July 1 and ends Sept. 30, is in its second year. It comes amid two years of deep budget cuts that have forced the LAPD to drastically limit overtime and thus the number of hours dedicated to gang and homicide investigations.
Veteran LAPD Det. Sal LaBarbera said working with his federal counterparts has been critical in maintaining the integrity of investigations that demand working cases "nights, weekends or whatever it takes."
LaBarbera said he expects the FBI and LAPD to clear additional murder cases in the next 10 days before the operation ends.
Last year, the joint task force solved 27 killings and made 28 arrests between July 1 and Sept. 30.
Case clearances have also seen a marked improvement with the addition of the FBI, authorities said. Normally, the average annual solve rate among South Los Angeles gang cases is about 50%, LaBarbera said. The average clearance rate under Save our Streets is more than 70%.
-- Andrew Blankstein (Twitter.com/anblanx)