@THE GUSS REPORT-If you live in the Valley, Mayor Eric Garcetti, City Attorney Mike Feuer and the LA City Council have taken this approach to fighting property crime: Do It Yourself.
That’s precisely what happened a few days ago when following up on my recent articles about a rash of burglaries, mail- and identity-theft in the Valley, and at one repeatedly victimized upscale address in particular.
There, despite having clear video and photos of the perps’ faces, the LAPD continues to refuse to take police reports (rumored to be because City Hall wants to tamp down politically sensitive crime stats.) The elected official for this area, Councilmember David Ryu, has yet to provide any documentation supporting his claims that he took specific action at this particular property.
As I exited the property’s garage, a clearly out-of-place 20-something snuck in just as the gate was closing. As the phrase goes, if you see something, say something ... or do something.
I turned around and re-entered the garage, driving toward the man, who was now prowling at the far end of the property. Upon seeing that he was being watched, he did an about-face and quickly exited with his wares in tow.
I called 911 and provided a description and the direction in which he was headed. I asked the perp “what were you doing in that building,” to which he replied, “my girlfriend lives there.” When I asked what her name was, he took off, turned down a side street, dropping the items as he heard my giving further directions to 911.
I followed as he raced across two boulevards and up a freeway on-ramp, squeezing between a chain link fence and LA River retaining wall.
I made a private person’s arrest as the LAPD descended impressively on the scene.
A few days earlier, the LAPD’s Lieutenant Bill Gavin told me, “Here in the Valley, it’s 85% property crime. In other parts of LA, it’s mostly violent crime,” revealing his frustration with property crime.
Other detectives and officers responding to the scene put much of the blame on the “soft-on-crime” consequences of Prop 47, the California law which the City of LA was quick to endorse, but which the Washington Post called “a virtual get-out-of-jail-free card.”
The question is whether lawmakers’ tones will change if some day they become the victims.
(Daniel Guss, MBA, is a member of the Los Angeles Press Club, and has contributed to CityWatch, KFI AM-640, Huffington Post, Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles Daily News, Los Angeles Magazine, Movieline Magazine, Emmy Magazine, Los Angeles Business Journal and elsewhere. Follow him on Twitter @TheGussReport. Verifiable tips and story ideas can be sent to him at [email protected]. His opinions are his own and do not necessarily reflect the views of CityWatch.) Edited for CityWatch by Linda Abrams.