By SARAH SHMERLING | Editor-in-Chief
At the second virtual meeting of the Pacific Palisades Community Council on Tuesday, June 30, Los Angeles Police Department Officer Brian Espin reported summertime updates pertaining to Pacific Palisades.
“Now that summer is coming around—especially in the Palisades area—we’re going to get busier because of the beach,” explained Espin, who is filling in for Senior Lead Officer Michael Moore for the next few weeks. “Our biggest problem that we’re having is burglary from motor vehicles, which I am sure you are all aware of, as well as vehicles being taken.”
Espin shared that he has seen several reports of grand theft auto, the intentional taking of another’s car without the owner’s consent with no intent to return the vehicle, with at least three in the Palisades.
“One was down by the beach at the surf spot where the surfer put their keys either on the tire or the bumper and someone either saw that or knew where to look and they took the car,” Espin reported.
A second instance was reported near Sunset Boulevard and Swarthmore Avenue, where the vehicle owner left the key fob inside.
“A lot of these guys are opportunists,” Espin explained. “They’re walking through the neighborhoods—usually late at night or sometimes during the day—and they’re doing what is called door checking.”
This is when door handles are checked to see if they are locked. Car windows are also looked though to see if there are bags or anything enticing.
“I encourage all of you, just like everybody has been told before: lock it, hide it, keep it,” Espin said. “Don’t leave anything in your car, even if it’s an empty backpack, it’s still enticing somebody walking by and that’s going to give them that motivation to get into a car.”
Espin reported that there have been at least six burglaries in the past month—usually they check to see if the resident is home and if nobody is there, they go around to the side or back yard and smash a window or remove a screen.
In the Brentwood area last year, Espin explained that people were pushing patio furniture up against homes to get to the second-story door or window, which usually remain unlocked.
“If you do have a second story,” Espin said, “make sure your windows are locked, make sure your sliders are locked.”
To help prevent crime in the Palisades, Espin recommended that community members be neighborly to one another. He suggested setting up a text or email thread specifically to discuss neighborhood safety.
“I don’t want people running out with pitchforks and knives and torches, trying to scare them out of there,” Espin said, “but if people come out on their porches, turn their lights on, make yourselves visible so they know you’re looking out for your neighborhood, that’s what usually deters these people.”
The next PPCC meeting, which will take place via Zoom on Thursday, July 9, starting at 5:30 p.m., will feature guest speaker LAFD Deputy Chief Armando Hogan, who is expected to speak on wildfire conditions and safety, as well as the potential impact of the budget on LAFD operations in the Palisades. For a complete agenda and meeting log-in information, visit pacpalicc.org.
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