Did Endeavour-mania lead to drop in crime? LAPD chief says maybe
With the space shuttle Endeavour now lodged safely in its new home at the California Science Center, Police Chief Charlie Beck on Tuesday raised the possibility that the massive spacecraft's much-ballyhooed crosstown journey led to a drop in crime.
Nearly 1 million people came out over the weekend to catch a glimpse of Endeavour as it crept along a 12-mile course from LAX to the Science Center at Exposition Park, Beck said.
Planners had fretted about the prospect of having throngs of people getting in the way of the huge craft that had to be moved gingerly through streets barely wide enough to accommodate the shuttle's 78-foot wingspan.
But in recapping the LAPD's efforts to patrol the crowds, Beck told the Police Commission on Tuesday that the spectators were perhaps the best he's ever seen. "I maybe have never been involved in policing a crowd that was so positive and so proud," he said.
Crime rates for the city during the shuttle's weekend journey, he said, were the lowest in months. Beck stopped short of saying the excitement and interest surrounding the shuttle's arrival had led to the crime drop, but said he believes it may have contributed to the relative calm that fell over the city.
Don't underestimate the effect, Beck said, of "having a community that is involved, energized, and has mutual goals."
-- Joel Rubin (@joelrubin) at LAPD headquarters