Neighborhood Watch to the rescue in Miracle Mile!

| March 1, 2018 | 0 Comments

MIRACLE MILE Neighborhood Watch Committee, from left to right: Thao Tran, Aliza Durand, Kelly Perkins, Kari Garcia and Seth Reed.

No, it’s not your imagination. Crime really is going up in Los Angeles.  Burglaries in the Wilshire area rose 17.3 percent between 2016 and 2017. Overall property crime is up 11 percent. The Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) is short-staffed, underfunded and stretched thin.

There are many possible reasons for the uptick in crime. In an attempt to reduce the California state prison population, 2011’s Assembly Bills 109 and 117 reassigned much of the state prison population to the county jails. Prop 47, passed in 2014, reclassified and reduced some drug possession and property crimes from felonies to misdemeanors. Prop 57, passed in 2016, allowed early parole consideration for nonviolent felons and changed policies on juvenile prosecution. In February, Sacramento Superior Court Judge Allen Sumner ruled that over 10,000 “non-violent” sex offenders might be released early due to the way the proposition was written. In addition, because of Waze, Uber, Lyft and other navigation/ride-sharing companies, neighborhoods are experiencing a rise in traffic and an abundance of vehicles cutting through their once-quiet streets.

What to do?

So, what do we do? Miracle Mile resident Kari Garcia believes she has an answer: start a neighborhood watch program.

“If the city and our local authorities don’t have the funding and resources to be as effective as they need to be,” explains Garcia, “then we as neighbors need to work together to help them.  We have the resources among us.”

Garcia grew up in Northern California and married into a longtime Miracle Mile family.  She and her husband bought their home in 1992 and have raised four children here.

“Slice of heaven”

“I absolutely love the architecture and style of the homes and the location in relation to the rest of Los Angeles,” says Garcia. “You have the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Art Deco community and great restaurants, plus it’s a terrific place to raise kids. It truly is a little slice of heaven.”

After experiencing several home burglaries, though, Garcia decided that it was time to take action. She reached out to Tammy Rosato of the La Brea Hancock Neighborhood Watch and the Greater Wilshire Neighborhood Council for advice and direction.  Then, she and a group of like-minded Miracle Mile residents, including her co-chair Kelly Perkins, committee members Aliza Durand, Thao Tran and Seth Reed, started organizing their own neighborhood watch program that will launch on March 24 at the Miracle Mile Residential Association (MMRA) meeting.

“There needs to be a solution,” says Kari, “and if we change the culture of the neighborhood by getting people involved, we can have a positive effect for the LAPD. Unless the neighborhood is organized, we’re not going to stomp out crime.”

Three core elements

The neighborhood watch program boils down to three core elements: 1) securing your property, 2) block organization and communication, and 3) 24/7 response involving LAPD and/or private patrol.

To kick-start the new watch program, Garcia and the other committee members are building from the ground up by recruiting block captains for each block within the Miracle Mile.  At the time the Chronicle went to print, the committee had secured block captains for 24 of the 53 needed.

“If people want to be a part of the solution and stop looking to place blame,” says Garcia, “they need to start within their own homes, then their block and then become a greater part of their community.  That’s how we will take back our neighborhoods.”

Meeting March 24

The program, which will be explained in detail at the MMRA March 24 meeting, will also provide clear instructions and information about the program on the MMRA’s website.  The site will include a drop down menu where residents can learn how to become active neighborhood watch members and learn how to secure their property inside and out. The instructions will teach people how to identify suspicious behavior and how to report it.

Garcia is hopeful that this program will spread to other neighborhoods throughout Los Angeles. By working as a community, hand-in-hand with the LAPD and local Senior Lead Officers, Garcia and the committee believe that residents can make a huge difference in bringing down the amount of crime plaguing the city.

“People are already feeling more connected through this program,” says Garcia. “Good things are coming from this.”

For more information, visit the Association website at

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