By Mary O’KEEFE
About 100 concerned residents from the unincorporated area of Los Angeles County/La Crescenta met with the Crescenta Valley Sheriff’s Station Capt. Bill Song and Sgt. Cynthia Gonzales on Monday evening. Their purpose was to ask questions concerning what some have perceived as a radical increase in residential burglary in the last few weeks.
Song started by explaining what are Part One crimes, which are homicide, sexual assault, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, larceny (theft from vehicles), auto theft and arson.
A woman in the audience asked if “robbery” referred to home robbery. Song explained that robbery is when someone takes something through force or threat. A home invasion is actually a home robbery. Burglary is when someone enters a structure to commit felony or theft.
“[Last year-to-date] we had 21 burglaries, and this year-to-date we had 19,” he said.
Year-to-date reflects the time period from January through June 22 (the date of Monday’s meeting).
“La Crescenta, your numbers are really good,” Song said. “When they say burglary it does not just mean residential, it can mean stores as well.”
Residential burglaries in 2015 broke down as follows: in January there were four, in February there were two, in March there was one, in April there were two, in May there were three and as of June 22 there were two totaling 14 residential burglaries year-to-date.
A resident of the Pinecrest area pointed out that there were four burglaries in the Pinecrest area within 30 days and that is why so many residents are concerned – and so many alarm systems being purchased.
A couple that had been burglarized recently thought the numbers would be higher because of a television news report claiming a much higher number. Song explained that those numbers reported were more than likely including the overall foothills community instead of just the unincorporated portion of La Crescenta.
In the north area command of Glendale, which includes portions of far north Glendale and Montrose, there have been a total of 72 burglaries year-to-date. Of that, 43 were residential or commercial and 29 were vehicles.
“Yes we are seeing an [increase] throughout the entire city,” said Lt. Lola Abrahamian, north area commander. “We are seeing a slight increase in burglaries and thefts from unlocked vehicles.”
Glendale police have put into place some proactive measures in the far north area that, Abrahamian said, have been helpful in combating these burglaries.
That was one of the questions posed by the audience members to Capt. Song as well.
Two priority issues the audience wanted information on were what is the LASD doing to patrol and what can residents do to be safe.
Crescenta Valley Sheriff’s Station has several units patrolling the neighborhoods. Glendale police also have patrol units in their area as well.
In addition, CV Sheriff’s Station has volunteers in patrol units.
Song advised residents to be alert and to call if they see anyone walking up to homes and knocking on doors. He explained that typically the suspect/suspects will walk up to the front door of a home, knock on the door and if there is no answer will go to the back of the home and gain entry by smashing a window. He advised residents to call the Sheriff’s Department if they hear something suspicious as well.
Abrahamian also advised residents to call if they hear or see anything suspicious.
“Most of these crimes are committed by opportunistic people,” she said. “They are [stealing] mostly small items, easy to carry in and carry out.”
GPD and CV sheriffs work closely together, as well as with Los Angeles police. They have weekly meetings when they discuss crime trends and arrests.
At the end of the meeting on Monday it appeared that the residents felt more comfortable, although still cautious. The couple that had recently been burglarized were concerned that it took so long for CV Sheriff’s deputies to arrive. Song admitted there were mistakes made in that burglary response and spoke privately with the residents.
Residents left the meeting speaking of watching each other’s homes, exchanging phone numbers and planning Neighborhood Watch programs.
Both CV Sheriff’s Station and GPD have vacation watch programs. Anyone who is going on a vacation can call their respective station and request a vacation patrol. Officers will make regular patrols in their neighborhood and walk the property to make certain everything is secured.
For any questions for the CV Sheriff’s call (818) 248-3464.
For GPD, call the Montrose Substation at (818) 249-8174 or the GPD main station at (818) 548-4911 to report suspicious activity. For those who would like to start a Neighborhood Watch email GPD Community Officer Abe Chung at firstname.lastname@example.org. As always, if there is an emergency call 911.