Last fall, a “kicking door challenge” that started on TikTok enticed teens to kick and bang on residential doors to the beat of Ke$ha’s song “Die Young,” and then run away. The challenge started in college dorms and quickly spread to residential neighborhoods, most recently including Hancock Park. Of course the goal is to avoid getting caught. Unfortunately for the four teens kicking and banging on a front door in Hancock Park last Friday evening, they were caught.
Four male teens, including one who admitted to living in the neighborhood, were apprehended by SSA Patrol and LAPD after a homeowner alerted SSA Security and LAPD to what appeared to be an attempted hot prowl break-in, according to an email alert sent to residents by Cindy Chvatal-Keane, president of the Hancock Park Homeowners Association.
On February 10, 2023 at approximately 8:30 p.m. the local Hancock Park SSA Officer received a call from a client in the 300 block of S. Las Palmas who reported three people banging on his front door. This caused the client to believe the individuals banging on the door were attempting to gain entry. As the individuals left the front of the home, the client followed in his personal vehicle, while the suspects fled on electric scooters eastbound on 3rd Street. During the pursuit, one individual’s scooter was struck by a passing vehicle traveling west on 3rd Street. He was uninjured and fled on foot. The SSA Officer contacted 911 requesting assistance for possible burglary suspects. LAPD units were in the area and responded to the call, assisting SSA officers who had apprehended two suspects. Both were wearing ski masks and large backpacks.
According to SSA’s report, while waiting for the LAPD unit to arrive, the other two juveniles involved came back to where their friends were being detained. The teens freely, without questioning, admitted to all riding scooters and wearing ski masks. When asked about why they were wearing the ski masks they told the SSA Officers it was a “trend.” The juveniles were very apologetic and wanted to speak to the homeowner to apologize. They insisted if there was any damage to his front door they would pay for repairs. They said they had no illegal substances or burglary tools on their person or in their backpacks, and were “just trying to have fun and ding dong ditch” local residents. One juvenile admitted to living on Wilcox Avenue in the area.
Due to the age of the individuals involved, LAPD couldn’t provide any details, but said most likely the teens were released to the custody of their parents.
“It seemed to our officer that the teens learned a valuable lesson and hopefully, won’t be involved in anything like this again,” said Terry Segraves, President of SSA Security Group.
“A prank that could otherwise be known as “ding dong ditch” has taken a troublesome turn,” wrote Chvatal-Keane. “With the increase of violent and non-violent crime in our area…all “pranks” are ill advised. Homeowners have no way of knowing the difference between a TikTok challenge and a criminal violently kicking in their front door. Someone could have been hurt.”
Segraves agreed. He praised the homeowner for following the suspects but not engaging.
“Leave that to professional security companies or the local police,” said Segraves.
Property crime rates are up all over the country and burglary is one of the most common types of property crimes. Seagraves advises homeowners to be vigilant and parents to strongly discourage teens from doing any kind of prank that could escalate into something dangerous.