Thursday, February 15, 2007
Police Seek Communities Help To Combat Spike in Property CrimeLos Angeles: Police are seeking the public’s assistance to attack a growing property crime problem within West Valley Area, as well as the rest of the San Fernando Valley.
West Valley Area ended 2006, with a 1% increase over 2005, with regard to the crime of Burglary/Theft From Motor Vehicle (B/TFMV), or (Vehicle Break-Ins). Additionally, there was an increase of 5.2% in B/TFMV's throughout the entire San Fernando Valley. During January of 2007, this specific property crime continues to plague West Valley Area, as well as the rest of the San Fernando Valley. Law Enforcement experts from the Los Angeles Police Department believe that many of these property crimes can be prevented with the help from the public. There are some basic, simple tips that citizens can follow which will assist law enforcement in protecting your property:
- Never leave valuables such as cell phones, CD's, purses, wallets, briefcases or backpacks in plain view. If you must leave them in your car, at least lock them in the trunk.
- Lock and secure your vehicles, use an anti-theft device, and always set your alarm.
- If you observe suspicious activity, which may be connected to this type of crime, obtain a description of the individual(s) physical appearance, actions, and any vehicle description including license plate numbers, and contact the police immediately. Do not confront suspicious individuals.
Additionally, law enforcement needs the public's assistance in capturing the brazen individuals involved in these crimes. Recently, thanks to concerned citizens getting involved and calling the police, West Valley Area police have made several significant arrests involving B/TFMV suspects.
On December 16, 2006, a Northridge mother and daughter decided to get involved when they observed a male breaking into a Mustang by tearing the convertible top and entering the vehicle while the alarm was ringing. They notified a tow truck driver, as the suspect fled on his bike, and notified the LAPD via their cell phone. The suspect tried to elude them; however they continued to follow him. At one point, the suspects pulled out a knife and attempted to scare them off by waving the knife at them. Later, the same suspect smashed the window of a second vehicle. Responding patrol officers were able to capture the suspect and recover stolen property, thanks to the assistance of these two citizens.
On January 28, 2007, a homeowner in Reseda heard noises coming from his parked van, which was parked in the street next to the house. He looked over a wall and observed a male exiting the van carrying the car radio. The victim and two other family members exited the residence and confronted the suspect. The suspect attempted to run away. They observed a passing police car approaching and flagged down the patrol officers. The officers were able to arrest the suspect and recover the stolen radio.
On January 30, 2006, a resident of Tarzana was taking trash out to a dumpster when he noticed a male looking into the window of his vehicle, and two other males standing near a Jeep. He and another resident formed the opinion that the males were breaking into vehicles. The residents called police who responded and captured all three suspects. The investigation revealed that the three suspects had broken into several vehicles that morning, which were parked in underground apartment parking structures. Further investigation revealed that these suspects are responsible for at least 20 B/TFMV crimes in the same area, since October of 2006. This investigation is continuing.
With the help from the public, many of these crimes can be prevented, and more of the suspects involved in these types of crimes can be apprehended and taken off the streets.
Anyone with information is asked to call West Valley Detectives James Agnole or Nick Angelo at 818-374-7753/754. On weekends and during off-hours, call the 24-hour toll free number at 1-877-LAWFULL (1-877-529-3855).