Los Angeles residents offer generous incentives to new police officers.
As the city struggles with crime and lack of police officers, Angelenos have pooled their resources to provide new cops with rent money in the thousands.
Housing for Hires is a program that provides rent subsidies to new LAPD officers. It can provide up to $24,000 per year for housing in Los Angeles.
The program has already raised $2.2million, enough to pay rent subsidies for 200 recruits. But the LAPD hopes to raise more than twice that amount.
The money comes from private donations to Los Angeles Police Foundation and not the LAPD budget. This means that residents are willing to open their wallets to help more cops live and work in the city.
The program also includes landlords who offer rent discounts for new cops.
Captain Aaron McCraney of the LAPD’s Recruitment and Employment Division stated that “the overall goal is for the real estate community to come in and offer discounts to the recruits.”
The idea for the rent subsidy program was created by Steve Soboroff, Los Angeles Police Commissioner.
Soboroff stated that the issue of recruiting cops is a national crisis because of multiple reasons. “This arrow in our Recruitment quiver has been invaluable to the safety of all Angelenos.”
The starting salary for new LAPD officers is approximately $80,000. A $24,000 rent subsidy would mean they could make upwards of six figures.
The cost of living has risen dramatically in Los Angeles over the past few years. One analysis shows that the median rent in Los Angeles is now more than $2,200. This is nearly 16% higher than the $1,950 for 2019.
The police department is currently dealing with a staff shortage.
Michel Moore, the Police Chief, stated that the force had lost 176 officers in August and that response times to urgent calls have gotten longer because of this shortage. Moore stated that the applicant pool has decreased.
Moore stated that “Policing draws from an ever smaller pool of applicants for a variety of reasons. So we have to do better at being upfront, and being a top-class agency.”
McCraney reports that the LAPD currently has less than 9,300 officers.
Meanwhile, Los Angeles’ violent crime has risen.
Homicides in Los Angeles County rose 30% between 2020 and July to more than 200 this year. The number of shooting victims rose 43% to almost 800 victims in 2020.
Some incidents went viral online, including looting and groups of people taking control of intersections to make donuts with cars.
According to police, a major factor in rising crime is Los Angeles District attorney George Gascon’s progressive policies. These policies favor being lenient with criminals and violent repeat offenders. Los Angeles police were particularly upset after the murder of two California officers by an alleged member of a gang who was on probation.
The district attorney’s office blames the police for the rise in crime and says cops are the problem. An earlier recall attempt against Gascon was unsuccessful.