The Filipino community in California heard about the state of crime in Los Angeles County at a recent community conversation with Sheriff Alex Villanueva.
"One of my biggest concerns is we have to be tougher on crime. With the current district attorney who's not doing anything to help out with crime, I think we just have to be stronger on crime. As the Filipino American community is facing the anti hate issues going on, I think we as a community have to really go out there and say 'we are Filipinos; we want to be safe; we want to look to law enforcement to make us safe'," Edwin Duterte of the LA Sheriff's Advisory Committee said.
California has seen massive crime waves in recent months from smash and grab burglaries to viral acts of violence. In recent weeks, several FIlipino American businesses have been looted.
The sheriff, who is up for re-election this year, blamed politics for stripping down police budgets and relaxing laws that have kept some offenders out of prison.
"There's no consequence to misdemeanor theft, so reporting of shoplifting, petty theft, all that, have just nosedived massively but I still have a district attorney claiming 'look theft is down; my program works.' They're just not reporting it so that's something to be worried [about]," Villanueva argued.
This past year, to help relay information to the community, Filipinos like Duterte and Peter Ramirez have become part of the sheriff's advisory committee. Other Filipino leaders like police officer-turned-Carson City councilwoman Arleen Bocatija Rojas have also been using their positions to bring the community together on these major issues.
"With what the sheriff said, there is a process and one of the things that we need to do is be able to work together. It can’t be too far on one side or the other side. We have to come together, come to a consensus, and work together. It'll take some time but we can do it," Rojas noted.
While the community is thankful no one got hurt in the looting incidents, they have shown solidarity with the affected Filipinos, even setting up crowdfunding pages to show financial support.