Visiting Sailors Receive Map With Dos, Don'ts of San Pedro

As sailors descended upon the port of San Pedro to enjoy shore leave during Navy Week, crews were given a map warning them to stay clear of the downtown area, citing safety fears.

It started out so nicely, says San Pedro's Chamber of Commerce president. A pleasant Monday night reception aboard the USS Abraham Lincoln aircraft carrier, a fine launch for "Navy Week."

Then came the news of the map.

"I get off the ship and come back to the office, and we get this phone call," said Camilla Townsend, of the San Pedro Chamber of Commerce.

Furious fellow chamber members told her about a map of San Pedro that the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, or NCIS, handed out to personnel right before they disembarked from the ship.

Three San Pedro neighborhoods were marked in heavy red, and it warned that they were "high drug use and distribution areas."

Chamber members said nothing could be further from the truth.

Small businesses look forward to the annual Navy Week, because it usually brings a much-needed revenue boost, and now residents are wondering what sets them apart from all the other, so-called, high-crime areas in the greater Los Angeles area.

Contacted by e-mail, NCIS neither backed down, nor apologized for its cautionary map. They said that "sailors were simply urged to use extra caution" in areas with higher crime statistics.

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