Unreported Crime Won’t Help Community, Police Say
As president of the Hancock Park Homeowners Assoc., Cindy Chvatal sometimes receives the anxious emails and calls from neighbors who have been victims of crimes. She also receives reports from security companies patrolling the area. In mid-May, it appeared that there was a crime spike.
“We had a rash of crime one evening on South McCadden,” Chvatal said. “Three or four houses were hit.”
Incidents of vehicle break-ins and attempted burglaries were also the talk of the neighborhood. However, this crime spike was not later reflected in police statistics because not all of the crimes were reported to the police.
Although Chvatal has reminded residents that the neighborhood will only get increased patrols when police statistics dictate the need, she said the inconvenience of formally reporting a crime prevents many from doing so.
“It’s very hard to report,” said Chvatal. “You have to go down [to the station] or [be placed] on hold forever [on the phone].”
Los Angeles Police Senior Lead Officer, David Cordova of the Wilshire Division, who oversees the patrolling in Hancock Park, said that underreported crime has been a long-standing issue.
“I’ll give you an example,” Cordova said. “I had a gentlemen call me to say he was a victim of somebody breaking into his car two days earlier. He didn’t have time to make a report and he wouldn’t have time until the weekend, but that he would make one.”
Cordova said when he is told about crimes after the fact and he asks the victim if he or she filed a report, the answer he often gets is that the victim didn’t have time to do so or that so little was taken that it didn’t seem worth reporting.
“I know the homeowners association is really trying to encourage people to report crime,” said Cordova, “and they should, because a lot of times additional resources are put in areas where crime is up.”
Wilshire Division Senior Lead Officer Hebel Rodriguez, whose area includes neighborhoods south of Wilshire Boulevard, agreed.
“We can’t help you if you don’t report it,” he said.
Rodriguez also had some suggestions to prevent crimes.
“Do a walk through your home,” he said, “and check for loose locks on your windows and doors.”
Rodriguez said that as many homes in the Wilshire area were built in the 1920s and 1930s, some of the locking mechanisms have been compromised over time. He added that many burglars know this as well.
“Figure out if you have a loose lock before they do,” he said.
Rodriguez also suggested that residents consider the “Ring” video doorbell, a surveillance tool that alerts a homeowner via smartphone when somebody is on their property.
Even if a homeowner is miles away, should a burglar knock on a door to see if anyone is home, the homeowner can talk to the would-be burglar through a speaker and give the illusion that someone is inside the house.
“It’s a great deterrent,” said Rodriguez, “and a great option for someone who can’t afford an alarm system.”
Posted June 29, 2016 at 6:00 a.m.