A rise in violent crime in the City of Los Angeles, including homicides, is making for an ominous summer forecast. Fernando Rejón, executive director of the Urban Peace Institute, says the past year led to a convergence of many key issues, including a national reckoning with law enforcement and systemic racism. That coupled with the large loss of life, mental health issues, and isolation of the pandemic led to more anxieties, tension, and ultimately, violence.
Gang intervention workers like Tina Padilla are out in the hardest hit neighborhoods to head off violence before it erupts. “We are out there trying to promote peace … trying to prevent a mother from losing their child,” she says.