More than 100 Larchmont Village neighbors gathered last night at Van Ness Elementary school with LAPD Olympic Division Senior Lead Officer Joe Pelayo, SLO Christopher Landry and Detective Supervisor III Michael Lorenz, to talk about LAPD’s response to a wave of recent burglaries in the neighborhood.
When it came time for questions, it seemed as if almost everyone there had a story to share about how their home was broken into, how they’d witnessed suspicious activity, or recent steps they’d taken to protect their homes by installing video cameras or motion sensor lights. Many also had questions about when to call 911. (The answer is that you should call when you see something suspicious or in progress. Dial 911 and explain the situation to the operator.)
According to Detective Lorenz, there were 12 burglaries in the half-mile square area of the Larchmont Village neighborhood in the last 30 days. In response, Lorenz said, LAPD has increased the number of patrols in the area. He said the increased presence of cops in cars, as well as the heightened vigilance of residents, will make a difference. Lorenz explained that when someone is arrested, he gets a subpoena to search their cell phone activity, stored on the GPS of the phone, to see if it matches locations of crimes. Lorenz says he can also search phones of the suspect’s friends and family, going back several years, so it’s really important for residents to report any and all property crimes.
Recently, Pelayo and Lorenz asked residents to look out for three vehicles that police believe are drop-off vehicles for thieves:
- 7 Series Black BMW, with tinted windows and no plates;
- a silver Ford Flex;
- and a black Ford Focus.
One resident said her security cameras caught a black Toyota Camry on Bronson Avenue, which she believed may have been used in another incident. Residents with video footage were urged to email it to Officer Pelayo at [email protected]
The police do not suspect that the recent burglaries are part of a coordinated effort, but rather individuals taking advantage of open windows or unlocked doors, or unlocked vehicles. Most of the burglaries happen during the day, from 8 am – 4 pm, when most people are at work. Thieves are usually looking for an easy way to gain entry to a home. Once inside, they are looking for jewelry, cash, and small electronics such as laptops and iPads.
Many residents have caught possible thieves on doorbell cameras because they are walking up the front door to see if someone is home, and if there is a surveillance camera. The video footage has been very helpful after the fact, Detective Lorenz said, but it’s also a deterrent.
“I talk to these criminals all the time to understand their methods and their mindset, “explained Lorenz. “Generally, they are looking for easy target, open windows or doors. They want to get in and get out without any contact, and they will avoid homes where cameras are visible from the street.”
The LAPD officers also passed out flyers with the following burglary prevention strategies and tips on what do when you go on vacation.
Burglary Prevention Tips
- Lock all windows and doors – even if you live on the second floor of an apartment building. Lock sliding glass doors and use the board to lock the sliding mechanism. This includes wo-story residences — remember that suspects can climb onto a balcony.
- Be on the lookout for suspicious activity and report it to your local police station: (Olympic area (213) 382-9102)
- Alarms: Use them! Add additional window security (example – pins in the window).
- Install motion detectors and motion lighting on all levels of the residence.
- Relocate valuables. Most burglars take property from the master bedroom.
- Photograph, videotape and catalogue all your valuables. Include serial numbers.
- Join a neighborhood watch group and become familiar with your senior lead officer.
- Let a trustworthy neighbor know that you are away. Ask that person to keep a lookout for your residence. Leave on one (1) light inside your home.
- Mail and newspapers should be picked up or stopped.
- Have a neighbor or friend park their vehicle in your driveway or parking spot.
- Please contact Detective Perez at [email protected] or (213) 382-9440.
To reduce vehicle thefts, LAPD developed “Hide it, Lock it, Keep it,” a public awareness campaign to educate the community and reduce the incidence of these crimes. LAPD urges residents to follow these safety tips below and report any suspicious persons or suspicious activity to the police immediately.
- Secure your vehicle.
- Lock all your doors and ensure your windows are rolled up.
- Park in an attended parking lot.
- If you have a garage, take the time to use the garage resident parking, rather than parking outside where your vehicle is more vulnerable. Lock the garage.
- If you were vehicle is so equipped, use the alarm and ignition kill switch.
- Install a mechanical device that locks the steering wheel, column, or brakes.
- Remove all visible items from the passenger compartment.
- Remove from view any mounts and chargers for electronic items.
- Take a personal items including cell phone, purse, and laptop with you, or store in the trunk before you park.
- Be aware of individuals attempting to follow you into a garage when the gate opens.
Important LAPD phone numbers:
- Emergency: 911
- Non-Emergency: (877) ASK-LAPD or (877) 275-5273
- Olympic Station: (213) 382-9102
- Senior Lead Officer: ( 213) 382-9140
- Anonymous Tip Line: (800) 222-TIPS (8477)
- or Text TIPLA plus your time to 274637 (CRIMES)