Toy and pet supply drive; Drollinger toy drive; Westside Voices holiday concert; Playa Vista Orioles pitching clinic

At its annual meeting recently, the Westchester Town Center Business Improvement District (BID) encouraged shoppers, residents and business owners to pay special attention to security during the holiday season.
The meeting included pleas from several Los Angeles Police Department officers to take basic precautions to avoid burglary and theft from motor vehicles and provided a few simple steps to keep residents from becoming victims of these crimes.
While overall crime is down in LAPD’s Pacific division, Lt. David Crew told attendees gathered at the L.A. Turners building in Westchester that property crime continues to be a concern in and around the airport area.
“The irony is that if folks would take a few extra seconds to properly store their belongings, this crime could be eliminated. There is no good reason to be the victim of one of these crimes,” Crew said. “These crime are our own fault sometimes. There’s no good reason to leave your iPad sitting on the seat in your car. Of course, I’ve done it myself. I’ve left a camera on the front seat of my car and become a victim.”
According to LAPD, the average cost of burglary and theft from motor vehicles to each victim is roughly $1,885.
“I think the message is loud and clear,” said Don Duckworth, executive director of the BID. “We all need to do a better job of hardening the target, of hiding those things we want to keep, and locking our car doors. Basically, we need to keep from making ourselves easy victims.”
The message from LAPD and the BID is simple:
Lock It: Lock your vehicle every time you leave it unattended and take your valuables with you;
Hide It: Hide your valuables in your trunk, under the seats, in the glove box, or other compartments within the vehicle. Ideally, take your property with you; and
Keep It: Personal responsibility is the best prevention to safeguard personal property and to prevent becoming a victim.
Det. Alicia Elliott said shoppers, in particular, should be extra vigilant.
“When you go shopping and put your purchases in the truck of your car, you’re still not guaranteed it will be safe,” she said. “There are plenty of thieves who will follow you from one store and wait for you to go into the grocery store. While you’re in there, they will break into your car and steal the items you just purchased. It may be safer to take your purchases home instead of going from store to store.”
Elliott added that distracted shoppers are also easy targets.
“With cell phones, we’re often not aware of our surroundings,” she said. “Most times, a criminal will not approach someone who is paying attention and looks like they know where they’re going. They’ll move on to the next person because they’re looking for an easy target. And that’s exactly what you are if you’re more concerned about texting or talking on the phone than protecting your purse or the items you just purchased.”
Duckworth said the BID will be placing flyers on cars throughout the holiday season and will provide local businesses with posters to put up in their shops reminding shoppers to be safe.
“We will make a real effort to harden the target in the BID and make it safer for our businesses and customers,” he said.

With the holidays right around the corner, there’s no shortage of opportunities to give something back to those less fortunate – be it the two-legged or four-legged variety.
Playa del Rey will host its annual Toy Drive for Children’s Hospital and a collection for the L.A. animal shelters from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 1 at Triangle Park, at the corner of Waterview Street and Trask Avenue.
Donations of new unwrapped children’s toys will be accepted, as well as new books and gift certificates from Target or grocery stores.
For the animal shelters, donations of old sheets, towels, blankets and sheets are encouraged. The animal shelters also need collars, leashes, pet sweaters, animal crates and unopened pet food as well as unopened cat litter, new leashes, collars and grooming items.
Local shelters also consider the holidays a fitting time for those looking to adopt a pet with a small adoption fee.
This year’s animal shelter drive is sponsored by Flowers by Felecia with support from Beach Pizza. In case of rain, the event will be held in the alley behind 7528 Whitlock Ave., two blocks from the park.
For more information, (310) 890-3881, or

In conjunction with the LAPD’s Winter Wonderland event, Drollinger Properties is hosting a toy drive through Nov. 30.
Donations for new, unwrapped toys will be matched by Drollinger Properties for up to 250 toys – so donations of one toy will mean two underprivileged children can be happy this holiday season.
“We are pleased to join with LAPD to make this a wonderful holiday for as many children as we can,” said Drollinger Properties President Karen Dial. “There are so many children in our own backyard who will not have a Christmas unless we all pitch in and help.”
Toys can be dropped off at the Drollinger Properties Office at 8929 S. Sepulveda Blvd., Suite #130 in Westchester.

The Westchester-based a-cappella group Westside Voices will celebrate the holidays with an afternoon feast of holiday music beginning at 3:30 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 9 in the Fellowship Hall of Westchester United Methodist Church, 8065 Emerson Ave.
Westside Voices is comprised of solo and choral singers from throughout the area. With a repertoire from jazz to classical, from Madrigals to world music, from Doo-Wop to holiday music, Westside Voices performs all kinds of songs, and the Dec. 9 concert will focus on a variety of holiday standards from all faiths as well as a variety of other selections.
Admission is free, though a voluntary donation of $10 per person is suggested. A reception follows and reservations are requested. To reserve seats, Penny at (310) 670-3777.
For more information,, or Harris Levey at (310) 822-9067.

Former Major League Baseball pitcher Tom House, who founded the National Pitching Association, will hold a pitching clinic for players ages 13-21 Dec. 14-16 at Culver City High School, 4401 Elenda St. in Culver City.
The clinic, held in conjunction with the Playa Vista Orioles Baseball Academy, will include critical skills for pitchers, including everything from the biomechanics of what some of the best pitchers of all time do and how to get more velocity while minimizing injury.
House, who has coached such stars as Nolan Ryan, Randy Johnson and Barry Zito, will help students learn about strength and conditioning protocols, nutritional necessities, and the mental and emotional elements.
For more information or to register for the clinic, (310) 341-3392 or §