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Ensuring the Safety of our Community

From Operation Protective Edge in Israel to the devastating terrorist acts carried out by ISIS in Syria, current events have been affecting Jewish communities worldwide and, as an unfortunate result, anti-Semitic incidents are on the rise. Just this summer in Los Angeles, comedian Elon Gold and his family were victims of a hate incident on Shabbat, and flyers with swastikas appeared at a Jewish-owned business near UCLA. Fortunately, our Federation has stepped up to improve safety and security in L.A.

The Jewish Federation’s Community Security Initiative

The safety of the L.A. Jewish community is one of our Federation’s top priorities. That’s why, in 2012, we founded the Community Security Initiative (CSI), which works in partnership with local, state and federal agencies to increase the safety of Jewish organizations and synagogues throughout Los Angeles. Since its inception, CSI has conducted over 50 site visits and five school security assessments, determining the vulnerability of each facility. This has enabled each organization to make informed decisions about how to secure their buildings even further.

CSI has also trained more than 500 employees and staff of Jewish organizations on topics such as surveillance detection, behavioral analysis, questions and search techniques, IED detection, terrorism awareness and more. These trainings have created new “eyes and ears” for each facility, making it more difficult for someone to cause harm to staff and constituents.

Real-Time Emergency Alerts

In addition, CSI’s information-sharing network provides relevant near real-time information about security threats to organizations and facilities within a designated distance from the threat. “With our ability to immediately identify Jewish institutions within an incident’s impact area, we can ensure recipients only receive all-hazards information that is relevant to their site,” says Jason Periard, our Federation’s Director of Community Security. These alerts not only offer an elevated level of security, but they empower organizations with information so they can decide how to proceed with employees and staff. There are currently over 300 registered users and 26 CSI Alerts have been distributed since April, letting subscribers know about suspicious packages, shootings, hazmat issues, wildfires, demonstrations and armed robberies in the immediate areas around their organizations.

Enhanced Security for the New Year

In response to the raised threat of incidents involving anti-Semitism, CSI recently announced an augmentation grant that will fund one security guard at every synagogue in the Los Angeles area for the High Holidays—in addition to whatever security teams these synagogues already have in place. The guards will come from five select security vendors whose teams have demonstrated best practices in the community as well as an in-depth understanding of the specific challenges that come with providing security for synagogues.

This extra layer of security will not only give many in our community peace of mind as they head to High Holiday services, but it will show those who have been carrying out acts of hate and anti-Semitism that we are a strong, united community—at Rosh Hashanah and beyond.

Community Safety Forum

Our Federation is deeply concerned for the safety of all Angelenos—not just our Jewish community. And after a summer of unsettling headlines that really hit home, we all want to know what’s being done to ensure that all of L.A.’s diverse communities are protected.

That’s why our Federation’s Community Engagement Council is hosting a timely Community Safety Forum with LAPD Chief Charlie Beck on Tuesday, September 16th.  This informative event is your opportunity to hear from civic leaders including:

  • Recently reappointed LAPD Chief Charlie Beck, who will speak about the state of public safety in our city
  • Marqueece Harris-Dawson, President and CEO of Community Coalition, who will discuss his work enhancing public safety in South Los Angeles
  • Cynthia Sanchez, Executive Director of Proyecto Pastoral at Dolores Mission, who will discuss her community-building organization in East Los Angeles

A representative from our Federation will also highlight the groundbreaking work being done by CSI. We hope you’ll join us, get informed, and find out firsthand how local leaders are addressing our concerns and keeping us safe throughout L.A.

We hope the knowledge that both our Federation and our community leaders are making security a priority sets your mind at ease as we approach the New Year. Together, we can all build a safer, more secure Los Angeles!

To find out more about our Federation’s Community Security Initiative, contact (323) 202-4566 or CSI@JewishLA.org.

For more information about the Community Safety Forum, contact Barri Worth, Director of Community Engagement Programs & Government Affairs at BWorth@JewishLA.org.

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