City Leaders Weigh In: Crime in 1981

Our August 1981 issue included a full report on the state of crime in the city, and things weren’t looking good. In one year, incidents of murder had jumped nearly 26 percent. Robbery and burglary was up by five. Shaken by troubling numbers, city officials weighed in. We excerpt some highlights:

Published August 1981

What Our Officials Really Think

We all know what’s been happening in our city—here’s how our city, county and state leaders feel, and what they think should be done

Governor Jerry Brown: “What we’re experiencing is the result of a lack of a rite of passage.”

Mayor Tom Bradley: “The greatest cash crop in California is marijuana…I’d be prepared to have federal help in destroying those fields.”

Sheriff Peter J. Pitchess: “I don’t think there are any so-called safe areas in Los Angeles County.”

Evelle J. Younger, former California attorney general: “The chickens have come home to roost—they’ve discovered crime in Sacramento.”

District Attorney John Van de Kamp: “If only these people thought that mooning or something…was a form of conduct as expressive as shooting someone.”

Deputy District Attorney Joseph Siler: “We need to face the fact that we don’t know how to cure repeat criminals—and we ought to quit trying.”

Police Chief Daryl Gates: “Recharge the free-enterprise system, control inflation and provide for full employment.”

City Councilman John Ferraro: “It’s part economics. People have lots of idle time to do the wrong things.”