Brutal, brazen crimes shake L.A., leaving city at a crossroads

Brutal, brazen crimes shake L.A., leaving city at a crossroads


12/4/2021 4:33:00 PM

Brutal, brazen crimes shake L.A., leaving city at a crossroads

A string of incidents at private homes and public spaces has catapulted crime in Los Angeles back into the zeitgeist.

and both San Francisco and Los Angeles have elected district attorneys with strong reform agendas. However, those concerned about crime and those who believe liberal policies have contributed to its rise have grown more vocal.It is a discourse defined by glaring differences of opinion and, at times, a yawning disconnect between the perception of local crime and the reality on the ground.

Dominick DeLuca, owner of the Brooklyn Projects skateboard shop on Melrose Avenue, a commercial corridor that has seen burglaries and robberies spike sharply in recent months, said things have gotten so bad that he carries a gun to work — and desperately wants ramped-up enforcement.

“I have never seen anything like it,” he said. “In the last two years, I have been broken into three times.”At a Thursday press conference, Mayor Eric Garcetti and Los Angeles Police Department Chief Michel Moore said more offenders should be locked up and questioned pandemic-related policies that have allowed many nonviolent arrestees to be released without bail.

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Moore said arrests had been made in several high-profile “smash-and-grab” burglaries but lamented that the suspects had all been released pending trial. Garcetti said warehousing criminals in jails without rehabilitating them is not a solution, but neither is ceding the streets to repeat offenders.

Los Angeles County Dist. Atty. George Gascón, whose progressive policies around prosecution and sentencing many blame for the uptick in crime, was notably absent at the press conference but said through his office that he is working closely with law enforcement partners to hold perpetrators accountable for such brazen crimes.

The heightened rhetoric marks a departure from language shared by many of the same officials just last year, after George Floyd’s murder by a Minneapolis police officer. This has set off alarms among activists who led protests, want to see progressive justice measures enacted and hear echoes of past eras when, they believe, the overhyping of crime led to overpolicing and excessive incarceration.

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“They’re trying to move us backward,” said Melina Abdullah, co-founder of Black Lives Matter Los Angeles. “We don’t want to move backward; we want to move forward.”Abdullah called Avant’s killing “horrific and appalling” and said Black Lives Matter mourns with her family. But she said officials must not be allowed to use Avant’s death or recent property crime to push for more policing, cash bail or other tough-on-crime measures that she said have been proved not to work.

“We need to think about what kind of economic desperation actually creates property crime and how do we get people out of that state,” Abdullah said. “How do we create livable wage jobs? How do we create affordable housing?”Abdullah also warned against accepting claims about crime that may not have a basis in reality — which, as it happens, is something police have warned against in recent days, as concern over crime trends has escalated.

For example, while the “follow-home” and “smash-and-grab” trends in L.A., including upticks in robberies in corridors like Melrose Avenue, have caused concern, they are not indicative of a citywide surge in property crime.According to LAPD data through Nov. 27, property crime this year is up 2.6% over the same period last year but is down 6.6% from 2019. Robbery is up 3.9% over last year but down 13.6% from 2019. Burglaries are down 8.4% from last year and down 7.7% from 2019. Car thefts are a notable outlier, up nearly 53% from 2019.

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More concerning is violent crime. Homicides are up 46.7% compared with 2019, while shooting victims are up 51.4%, according to police data. As of the end of November, there had been 359 homicides in L.A. in 2021, compared with 355 in all of 2020. There have not been more homicides in one year since 2008, which ended with 384.

In Beverly Hills, police stress that crime is rare — and killings like Avant’s even more so. Police Chief Mark Stainbrook said that despite recent incidents, Beverly Hills remains one of the safest cities in the nation.Crime across Beverly Hills this year was down 2% as of the end of October. Violent crime in the past two years is up 23% compared with the two years prior, but the total number of such crimes remains tiny: There were just five robberies in the city in October, and homicides are rare.

It’s not clear what reforms the concerns about crime in the Los Angeles area will lead to — if any.A crime spike in the 1990s led California to adopt policies that toughened sentences and increased incarceration. The reform movement was an acknowledgment that those policies went too far and caused their own injustices.

A poll of L.A. votersreleased this week showed that public safety is perceived as less of a pressing problem than homelessness, housing affordability, traffic, climate change and air quality.Jonathan Simon, a criminal justice professor at UC Berkeley’s law school and author of “Governing through Crime: How the War on Crime Transformed American Democracy and Created a Culture of Fear,” said it is unlikely that crime concerns will completely derail the progressive criminal justice reform movement that began with Floyd’s killing.

However, such concern could slow those reforms, he said — showing once more “how potent the political value of crime is” and how quickly politicians and others can revert to a “crackdown” mentality.“It’s a powerful trope now for 40 years,” Simon said.

On Friday at Beverly Hills’ Roxbury Park, a handful of child-care providers sat together over lunch. One woman said she had moved her walking schedule earlier each day to feel more secure.Norma Guzman, who has worked for two decades as a babysitter in various parts of L.A., said Beverly Hills does not compare to other areas in terms of the amount of crime.

“If I didn’t watch TV, I don’t think I would have noticed the area was more dangerous,” she said. “I don’t think it is.”But Janette Waight, a nurse who has worked in Beverly Hills for seven years and was strolling through Roxbury Park with her boss’ terrier, felt differently.

“Over the last few years, this area has become more and more dangerous,” Waight said. “It’s not just crime; it’s homelessness, and it’s just a desire from people to look for quick cash rather than work.”Ruben Urcis, 90, a 42-year resident of Beverly Hills who walks twice a day along the Beverly Gardens Park walkway, said he was not disturbed by the recent string of high-profile crimes, which he didn’t consider anything new.

“People might just be noticing this, but it’s happened before,” he said, noting that his wife was robbed at gunpoint of a white-gold Rolex more than a decade ago outside their garage. Now she wears a “standard wristwatch of no value,” he added.Urcis said the difference with crime now is that it’s occurring in public places and being recorded on camera for all to see.

“The people in this community don’t feel safe,” he said, “but that’s been going on for a long time.”Pete Nichols, co-founder of the community group Melrose Action, said Thursday’s press conference offered few concrete solutions — one reason the Melrose retail community isn’t waiting for City Hall or the LAPD to address crime for them. Instead, local merchants are trying to obtain cameras that read license plates to help police identify burglars who drive through the area.

Many local merchants and employees saw the August killing of 26-year-old Shoe Palace employee Jayren Bradford outside that store as a tipping point, Nichols said, and have been chipping in funds for the cameras.

Read more: Los Angeles Times »

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This is what happens when you are not tough on crime. Go ahead and keep rolling back tough sentencing laws and reducing prison populations. What a smart strategy 😂 LosAngeles gavinnewsom JoeBiden BidensAmerica crime The animals hit la Translation: We at the LA Times have never given a shit about crime or quality of life in this city with regards to working class families. But when one of our own elite in the form of a record executive gets murdered, then we have to start second guessing our endorsements.

awww, weren’t you the ones in love with useless GeorgeGascon and then got him elected as LADAOffice ? LA Times has promoted and endorsed wanton acts of lawlessness through thick and thin. You guys endorsed Gascon. Don’t act like there was no foresight. Keep electing democrats. Have never Getting what you voted for. I hope you get it good and hard. Let them rob, rape, kill and loot! I don't care about your self-inflicted problems.

Shaken? It’s what they voted for.

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seth rogan says it’s all good When it gets to Malibu, maybe CALIFORNIAS WILL wake up to the Biden mistake Report the truth. No crossroad, just danger You didn’t think this was inevitable? Democrats embracing progressive (ie self-destructive) policies could only lead to rising crime. Get what you vote for.

We need Jackie Lacey back stat. Democrat super majority to blame. Biden has done an awful job. they say 'crossroads' as if the're in that ethical dilemma where you pull a lever to redirect a train headed towards the entire population of LA tied to the rails. Except its not a tough decision, because one track has everyone in LA tied to the rails, the other is empty

LA deserves this. They keep on voting Dems Lib sewer. Enjoy LA Times has endorsed every single one of the politicians and the policies that have caused this to happen. Good job supporting the total destruction and corruption of our city and making it a sunny Gotham.

Arrest made in fatal shooting of Jacqueline Avant in Los AngelesBeverly Hills police made an arrest in the fatal shooting of Jacqueline Avant, wife of the music executive known as the 'Godfather of Black Music.' Aariel Mayno Are we allowed to use the word 'black' these days?

ISN’T LIBERAL SOCIALISM JUST GRAND ? From comments of this tweet we all know why LA down this road. Black Lies Matter. Bring back Stop and Frisk and target the usual suspects. Quick…release more criminals from jail. That should solve everything. The LA Times endorsed Gascon. This is on you 😡 Quality democrats running that city into the ground. But according to your DA, most of these are crimes

nice, more copaganda

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Why you gotta go anywhere. If you stand there and never take either road you'll be alright. There is no way i would ever live in California. “More concerning is violent crime. Homicides are up 46.7% compared with 2019, while shooting victims are up 51.4%, according to police data. As of the end of November, there had been 359 homicides in L.A. in 2021.” Hint: murders are reported; many other crimes go unreported! LA

If it bleeds it leads. Lmao, you love to see it People vote for soft on crime permissives then wonder why crime is rampant They're not willing to change their thinking in electing tough on crime candidates They hold onto weak leadership as loyalty to a stringent ideology not law and order. Well? Hopefully they’re wearing masks. It would be really irresponsible if they weren’t.

Defund the police, continue no bail, and re-elect Gascon. These are the only solutions to the crime crisis in LA. It’s like when you tell cops they can’t do their jobs, crime goes out of control.

Man arrested in fatal shooting of Jacqueline Avant in Los AngelesBeverly Hills police arrested a man in the fatal shooting of Jacqueline Avant, the wife of the music executive known as the 'Godfather of Black Music.' She was shot and killed early Wednesday at their Beverly Hills home.

Sethrogen why did you leave LA again? Amend the law to permit shooting to defend strong-arm destruction of property & theft, as well as rioting & looting, and things will change Good for you la you deserve all you get peterjhasson Law enforcement and prosecution decisions should not be based on race. They should be based on facts and public safety. Stop acting like people aren’t a threat until convicted. Spend more $ on identifying and remedying cases where there actually is a miscarriage of justice.

vOtE bLuE Bring back mass incarceration! Ah, progressive governance always leads to such ‘progress’ lmao. Thanks for this needed coverage. Garcetti the city of angels needs yoir leadership. Liberal run city with liberal laws pushed by the politicians in charge. No surprise to the intelligent.

Man arrested in fatal shooting of Jacqueline Avant in Los AngelesBeverly Hills police made an arrest in the fatal shooting of Jacqueline Avant, the wife of the music executive known as the 'Godfather of Black Music.' Aariel M We urges citizens off all other countries to leave immediately from USA cause its too dangerous and unsafe to stay there. POTUS CNN PressSec Lemme guess, perp was out on bail or early parole. Black on black crime the real pandemic

Brazen crimes are going to only get worse as long as you’ve got more have nots than haves. 80 people form groups to storm and loot department stores and violent crimes are going up. Tell me again how I don't need large capacity magazines? What happens when 80 people figure out your small house has more $ then a department store and it's an easier target? 🦆 your laws.

Get strapped 'they may be 'brutal' and 'brazen', but the more important question that should be asked is 'are the accused proportionally represented in terms of ethnicity? jails must look like the rest of society too''--george gascon WHO is OVERWHELMINGLY COMMITING the CRIME? (The Looting Videos appears to be one Demographic) ARREST - CONVICT - PRISON The Liberal Media can’t Figure this Out? The FACTS Remain Unreported Because they Prove the MEDIAs Past Reporting was FAKE

You voted for Garcetti, Newsom and Gascon so live with it. “The fact that this has happened, her being shot and killed in her own home, after giving, sharing, and caring for 81 years has shaken the laws of the Universe,” declared Oprah Winfrey, expressing her grief over Avant’s killing to her 43 million Twitter followers. LATimes

We need real public safety measures instead of mass incarceration which has kept many like my brother in prison for excessive lengths of time/wrongfully convicted You put your fear mongering behind a paywall? Smug GOP all think they have Jews, women, gays, trans and nonwhite populations at the end of their guns, with the CAPTURED dark money SCOTUS cued to take away all our rights and make us a 'Christian nation'. Any diminution of our collective rights is ONE STEP TOO FAR.

14 arrests made in Los Angeles smash-and-grab style crimesFourteen people have been arrested in connection with smash-and-grab style crimes at stores across Los Angeles over the last two weeks, officials said Thursday. What are we teaching our children? No nearby shipping centers and parks punishes the poor and elderly. Great! Charge them with stiff sentences. Sounds pretty racist.