After a string of nearly 30 residential burglaries struck Venice neighborhoods west of Lincoln Boulevard throughout March and April, police say incidents have virtually ceased in the area with the use of additional resources and community bulletins.
From the beginning of March to the end of April, the section of Venice bounded by Washington Boulevard to the south, Lincoln Boulevard to the east, the ocean to the west and Dewey Street to the north, was hit with a strikingly high number of residential burglaries, Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) Pacific burglary detective Nina Serna said.
“It’s high; it’s very high,” Serna said of the number of burglaries over the two-month period.
The homes were hit when residents were away and were primarily removed of electronic items, such as laptop computers, I-pods, cameras and televisions — items that could fill a carrying bag, Serna said.
The suspects are believed to use a method of operation in which they knock on the front door of the home and if the resident is away, they go to the back of the home where they generally enter through an unlocked door or window, the detective explained. While the suspects may occasionally force open or break the doors and windows, approximately 80 percent of the incidents have occurred at homes with unlocked doors or windows, as the suspects seek out “the easiest target,” Serna noted.
Police say they have noticed a pattern in the methods used and the type of items targeted, and Serna said detectives believe the recent incidents may be connected to the same group of suspects. The suspects are described as two to five African American men approximately 15 to 20 years old, she said.
No arrests have been made in the burglaries.
When police identified a pattern with the incidents in early April, the LAPD issued community alerts to advise the residents of the increase in burglaries and offer tips on how to protect themselves and their property. The alerts gave the residents tips such as to lock windows and doors and secure the gates when you are not home, ensure that items of value are not visible and keep lights on when you are away. Police also ask neighbors to call LAPD if they see any suspicious activity.
“We encourage the neighbors to be proactive and to call the police,” Serna said.
In addition to the alerts, the LAPD has applied additional resources to the Venice neighborhoods, including gang units and West Bureau units, which has helped deter incidents, she said.
“We’ve had a lot of extra resources in there,” Serna said.
A residential burglary reported in the 1400 block of Venice Blvd. May 7th does not appear to be connected to the same suspects in the earlier burglary series, Serna said. The suspects in that incident allegedly stole a laptop and fled after seeing a neighbor, leaving behind a flyer advertising magazines for college-bound students, the detective said.
Those suspects are described as three Hispanic men approximately 15 to 20 years old.
Serna does not believe the recent string of burglaries in the area is a result of the current economic strain on the country, but rather the type of suspects in the area who are looking for items easy to sell.
“I don’t attribute it to the economic climate. This particular crime is area specific,” she surmised.
Serna confirmed that three residential burglaries were also reported over two days in Westchester earlier this month in which the suspects allegedly stole jewelry. The incidents were unrelated to the Venice burglaries, she said.
Three suspects were arrested following a burglary at 83rd Street and Truxton Avenue May 7th and were not believed to be connected to the two other Westchester incidents, she said. The suspects, who are from South Central Los Angeles, were allegedly found to have property from another burglary in the Wilshire area, Serna said.