Alphabet Streets Residents Call for Police to Halt Car Break-ins

By LILA SEIDMAN | Reporter

9:25 a.m. Sunday. A car alarm. Joan Boylan of Alphabet Streets was sure it couldn’t be hers, and let it ring on.

But when she approached her 17-year-old Volvo on the 800 block of Galloway St. to head to an early morning dentist appointment, she immediately realized something was off.

The contents of the car were strewn everywhere. The gas tank latch was popped open. She saw telltale marks on the passenger side door where it had been jimmied open. A Samsonite leather wallet with about $800-$1,000 in gift cards was missing.

“I really felt like I’d been violated,” Boylan told the Palisadian-Post on Oct. 23, exactly two weeks after the incident.

“I started to shake and started to feel sick to my stomach,” she said.

Sue Kohl, Pacific Palisades Community Council (PPCC) Area 1 representative and fellow Alphabet Streets resident, believes that similar break-ins have increased in the last few months.

It’s become so common, Kohl suspects, neighbors are neglecting to file police reports, which she called “absolutely imperative” in an email she sent to community members Oct. 18. (Boylan did file a police report.)

Kohl explained that without reports, the Palisades cannot receive additional police resources which she thinks are necessary, specifically referring to Auto Z, a Westside-only program that plants plainclothes officers in unmarked cars overnight in areas experiencing high levels of break-ins.

“When something happens over and over again, you just get complacent about it,” said Kohl, whose car has been broken into three times. “People think, if no one gets hurt, that’s just the price of parking on the street.”

Currently, the Palisades lacks the number of reports to warrant additional patrol cars, LAPD Senior Lead Officer Michael Moore said.

While Moore said it’s crucial that residents report every crime, even over the phone, he’s not confident that even if every break-in is reported, the total would be more than Venice or Santa Monica; He said he receives an average of two to seven break-in reports per week, while other areas might see seven to 20.

He said the Alphabet Streets see a disproportionate number of break-ins due to the high volume of cars parked on the streets. Kohl believes the neighborhood lacks sufficient street lighting.

Boylan, who has been living in the Palisades for 46 years,
said she “felt so secure” in the neighborhood before her car was broken into. Now, she said she “would just like to see a little more police presence.”