By September Dawn Bottoms
Special to the Palisades News
After a slew of recent house break-ins and car thefts, Pacific Palisades resident Daniel Keller organized a community meeting on Jan. 29 at the Pacific Palisades Woman’s Club in an effort to raise awareness and find solutions.
“I’m just a fellow resident of the Palisades who had his car stolen a year ago and who wants change,” said Keller, who lives in the El Medio Bluffs neighborhood.
He invited LAPD Senior Lead Officer Michael Moore to talk to residents about the crime trends and how to protect themselves from it.
Close to 40 concerned citizens, most of whom had experienced break-ins, showed up to voice their frustrations.
“There have been seven break-ins in the last week,” said Moore. “Usually there is one a week. Most of them have been in the Alphabet Streets area. I’m here to provide information and answer questions—give people a fighting chance at not becoming a victim.”
There were five burglaries alone on Jan. 26. The suspects smashed glass doors and windows to enter homes and steal jewelry, personal safes and other possessions.
Victims included Indy driver Townsend Bell and his family. According to AP Auto Racing, “Burglars made off with the 10 rings from his Indianapolis 500s, his ring for winning the 2001 Indy Lights championship, his Rolex watch from his 2014 victory in the 24-hour race and the Rolex he received for winning the IMSA title the next season.”
Bell told AP, “In the end it’s just stuff, but it’s special to just me. All the work you put in to get all that stuff, and at least you have recognition of the achievement, and now it’s gone.”
Investigations for the recent break-ins are still ongoing but, according to Officer Moore, the detectives have promising leads. (If anyone has any information about any burglary, contact LAPD Detective Resnick at 310-444-1564.)
Moore said that when it comes to home burglaries there are some obvious measures you can take such as having an alarm system, security cameras, locking your doors and windows when you leave, having a general awareness of your neighborhood and, believe it or not, simply answering your door. According to police, making it known that residents are home is a great deterrent, being that most burglars knock on doors to see if someone is home prior to breaking and entering.
But the spike in crime has residents worried, and despite efforts to protect themselves with burglar alarms, floodlights, cameras and dogs, they continue to be victims.
“There’s not one solution out there that will prevent your homes from being burglarized, but as many defense layers as you can have will help,” Moore said.
According to residents, not only is there an increase in residential crime but the response time by officers when it happens is too long. One woman said that it took officers 30 minutes to show up after her home was burglarized.
Residents believe that public safety resources are spread too thin. In the Palisades, there is one patrol car for the entire town, leaving the five homes that were broken into on January 26 waiting for a response.
“The reality is LAPD bases the amount of patrol cars they have in an area on violent crime like stabbing, robbed at gunpoint, people being raped,” Moore said. “Unfortunately, property theft takes second place to that. For me it’s frustrating; I’d like to see more patrol cars in the area.”
Ideas such as setting up surveillance cameras at residential intersections all over the Palisades area (with the ability to record license plate numbers) were quickly rebutted, given that their installation would have to be paid for by residents.
There was also mention of putting off-duty police officers in place for community events, at a cost.
According to Moore, the easiest way for residents to protect themselves is to get to know their neighbors and organize a neighborhood watch on their block.
“If you see something, say something,” he said.