LVNA neighbors talk crime, community school at annual meeting

| November 30, 2017 | 1 Comment

NEW PRINCIPAL of Van Ness Elementary Pauline Hong addresses LVNA members.

More than 50 residents filled the auditorium of Van Ness Elementary Nov. 14 for the semi-annual Larchmont Village Neighborhood Association (LVNA) meeting.

New principal of Van Ness Elementary Pauline Hong greeted neighbors and said she is excited to work with the Larchmont community. Hong praised out-going principal Katty Iriarte, noting that Iriarte did “a phenomenal job turning the school around” during her 38-year tenure. Hong says that she hopes to continue that good work as Iriarte’s replacement by bringing in new programs, improving the school’s science, technology, engineering, mathematics (STEM) curriculum and increasing the school’s enrollment.

Hong addressed the possibility of Van Ness Elementary transitioning into a magnet school. She explained that after meeting with teachers and parents, the campaign was abandoned to focus, instead, on making Van Ness the best possible community school. As a community school, children living within its boundaries receive priority in enrollment; a magnet school is open to all students regardless of neighborhood.

Van Ness Elementary has a new website, which Hong encouraged residents to check out at

Olympic Division Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) Senior Lead Officer Joe Pelayo and Officer Daniel Chavez spoke with residents about the increase in property crime.

Pelayo said an additional police car is patrolling the neighborhood, but that residents need to stay vigilant in regards to watching, and reporting, suspicious activity.

A man in the crowd shared a story of a brazen crime spree that he said took place the previous week on Larchmont Blvd. Coincidentally, the Chronicle received a phone call from one of the victims of the same Tuesday night incident, which is worth sharing.

Both accounts allege that six (possibly eight) vehicles on Larchmont Blvd. were burglarized in the same way and presumably by the same suspect, while parked between Melrose and Beverly, on Nov. 7 from 8:30 to 9:30 p.m. One of the female victims, a Greater Wilshire resident who asked that her name not be printed, said that she returned to her car that night to find the back window shattered and property missing from the vehicle’s opened trunk. She said that as she was assessing the damage to her vehicle, four other victims approached her with the same story. “It is alarming in the sense that the suspects definitely knew what they were doing,” she told the Chronicle. “They smashed the back window and used a crowbar to open the trunk. They hit six cars within just a few minutes.” As the Chronicle went to press, Officer Dave Cordova reported that a trio of auto burglars from Oakland had been arrested and tied to the Larchmont thefts.

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