Area residents say crime is getting worse

| December 28, 2017 | 3 Comments

LOCAL RESIDENT Allison Kelly is worried about property crime.

Last month the Chronicle received an email from a Larchmont resident who was alarmed to hear that three homes on his street, Lucerne Blvd., had been burglarized in the preceding 45 days. The resident, who asked to remain anonymous, hoped some media attention would “spur the police to patrol” the neighborhood.

In an effort to measure local concern, we asked Larchmont residents to give their take on what some feel is an alarming increase in property crime.

“What can I tell you? I’ve never seen anything like what I’m seeing around town these days,” says Lucerne resident Allison Kelly. “It makes me nervous because it feels like it is organized crime, teams of people. I don’t want to be paranoid and think everybody is a potential burglar, but you just don’t know.” 

Kelly has lived in the neighborhood since 1990, but she says that property crime is worse now than ever before.

“I never see the police. That’s the truth,” says Kelly. “I sometimes see private security companies on patrol, but that’s it. It’s disheartening to think that you have to pay for your security.”

In addition, Kelly notes that it is frightening to see a growing number of vagrant people in the area: “I see them sleeping now at Rossmore and Clinton. I can’t imagine that it’s the homeless breaking into houses, but they could’ve been responsible for breaking into my car and rummaging through it. I don’t know.”

Rosewood Ave. resident Keith Johnson echoed Kelly’s concerns: “There’s definitely been an uptick in crime around the Larchmont area.”

Johnson, who has lived in the neighborhood for 30 years, says that there is rarely a day that goes by without a report of package theft, or an auto or home burglary.

“I know since neighbors are now more connected via Nextdoor [an online social network service], we sure hear about crime often enough.”

According to Johnson, some of the issues could be addressed with more resident awareness “especially for these little Mickey Mouse crimes.” Johnson says that too often bikes are stored unlocked or packages are left sitting on front porches. “The other issue is all the empty houses waiting to be demolished and developed are quickly filled with squatters. It’s my best guess they’re likely to be part of the crime wave,” he says.

Johnson agrees that it would be helpful to have more law enforcement in the area.

“More patrols would be great,” says Johnson, “but talking with our senior lead officer, I gather they’re really understaffed.”

In an effort to increase patrols in the area, Gower St. resident Brad Listi has asked Councilmember David Ryu to spend discretionary funds on safety patrols.

“I’m respectfully submitting an urgent request for discretionary funds to provide for private patrol  security for Larchmont Village,” read Listi’s Nov. 16 request to Ryu.

“Crime in the neighborhood is at a beyond-unacceptable level. Bold action is needed. If we don’t do something, someone is going to get hurt or killed,” wrote Listi.

According to Ryu’s director of policy Nicholas Greif, the request will need to be reviewed by the Community Discretionary Funds Task Force, which next meets on Jan. 9 at 6 p.m. at the Will & Ariel Durant Library on Sunset Blvd.

To confirm the number of burglaries on Lucerne Blvd., the Chronicle contacted Los Angeles Police Department Wilshire Division senior lead officer Dave Cordova. According to Cordova, there have been six burglaries on Lucerne Blvd, between Wilshire Blvd. and Melrose Ave., from Oct. 23 to Dec. 18. Concerned that that number is “a little bit higher than normal,” Cordova says he is working with the Wilshire Division burglaries supervisor to pull the reports to look for similarities or patterns in the incidents.

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