While off duty at home just over a week ago, Wilshire Division Captain Shannon Paulson came up with an idea to help vulnerable citizens concerned about going out during the COVID-19 pandemic get groceries and medications safely.
Aware that we have a high risk population that should be limiting their exposure, as Captain Paulson explained to the Buzz this morning, she was also concerned about the scams where people are taking advantage by offering service, collecting payment and never making good on the delivery of items and wondered how her officers could help my offering to make deliveries during their off hours.
“Could we do this here?,” Paulson wondered. “I threw an email out to command, all our 230 employees in the division, to see if I could get any volunteers to help these people out, and, within 20 minutes, I had literally a couple dozen volunteers.”
Paulson also reached out to the Community Police Advisory Board (CPAB) members for additional help in the event officers should get too busy with their duties the program could continue. She also reached out to local grocery stores and pharmacies to let them know about Operate Blue Heart and encouraged them to share the program with their customers.
Paulson said the program is slowing getting underway. But she shared a story about a woman who is recovering from breast cancer who very fearful of going in public and no family in the area to assist her.
“She was literally in tears when we were able to step in and help her,” said Paulson.
“I am hoping to get the word out so we can help more residents,” said Paulson. “We have volunteers standing by and ready to help make deliveries before or after their shifts as well as volunteers from the community who we know.”
Residents who need assistance can connect with Operation Blue Heart by emailing: [email protected]
Paulson is concerned that if the modeling for the spread of the COVID-19 that have been published recently bears out, the needs among the community might increase. But for now, the Wilshire Division has not seen any uptick in crime.
“There are less people on the roadway, so traffic accidents are down and many of the retail and business are closed or limiting access so there is a marked reduction in shoplifting and theft crimes,” explained Paulson. “In addition, people are staying at home so the daytime burglary rate are down, so lower crime stats are a natural reflection of what we are seeing.”
Still Paulson urged everyone to be aware of potential scams, in particular, recent scams regarding the IRS or federal stimulus payments. Paulson said consumers should check the LAPD and City Attorney’s website for updated information. Recently SSA Security shared this with list of scams with the Buzz.