By LILY TINOCO | Reporter
Los Angeles Police Department Officer Brian Espin, current acting senior lead officer for Pacific Palisades, provided year-to-date information about local crimes that have occurred, noting a spike in cases of grand theft auto.
“I will tell you what is skyrocketing through the roof is vehicle crime—car break-ins, cars being stolen … that is what’s hurting the Palisades the most right now,” Espin said during the Thursday, April 22, Pacific Palisades Community Council meeting.
Grand theft auto has increased by nearly 167% in the year, with nine at this time in 2020 and 24 so far in 2021. At the time of the meeting, Espin reported 20 cases of grand theft auto.
Espin said newer vehicles are susceptible to theft, as residents tend to leave their key FOBs in their car.
“A lot of these burglars … are opportunists,” he added. “They walk around … start lifting door hands and if one opens up, if it’s a push start … they get in, step on the brake, push it and see what happens. We’ve had quite a number of those.”
PPCC Chair David Card shared a recent experience of his own with attendees during the meeting, reporting that an individual rummaged through his car overnight and took a few of his belongings after he left his car unlocked.
“No big loss, the car is still there, but it’s a warning,” Card said.
Espin advised that to protect themselves, community members should not leave keys, valuables or anything that could be viewed as worthwhile in their cars: “Lock it, hide it, keep it.”
Compared to this time in 2020, there has also been a nearly 60% increase in instances of burglary/theft from motor vehicles, jumping from 51 cases to 80.
Theft has increased by 32%, with 25 cases reported in 2020 and 33 cases reported so far this year.
Burglary increased by eight instances, with 29 so far in 2021 and 21 in 2020.
Espin said individuals should continue to be mindful of their neighborhoods.
“If you see something, say something,” he said.
“Please help each other out and look out for your neighbors,” Espin said in an email to the Palisadian-Post. “Most crimes can be deterred by being aware of your surroundings and letting your neighbors know what is going on.
“When people are out and about with eyes on the street, most criminals take notice and will move on to another area where they will not be noticed or stand out.”
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