Burglaries raise crime rates
Theft crime rises in La Mirada. | Stephen Frederick/THE CHIMES
La Mirada’s part one crimes, including homicide, rape, larceny, burglary, automobile theft, robbery, assault and arson, have escalated due to burglaries, according to the Los Angeles Times and La Mirada Blog.
a profound impact
Though aggravated assault and violent crimes remain low, 26 in the last six months, from October 3, 2017 to April 2, 2017, burglaries in La Mirada have risen, 523 in the last six months, causing part one crime statistics to rise as a whole. There were 906 property crimes in 2016, 857 in 2015 and 635 in 2014, according to City-Data.com. Senior administrative analyst Mark Rounds and Lt. Kevin Beggs from the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department believe the rise in theft has to do with the passing of Proposition 47, which decriminalized non-violent offenses such as burglary or usage of illegal narcotics as misdemeanors and keeps criminals out of prison and in society.
“That has had a profound impact on how long we can keep those thieves and burglars off the streets. The turnaround time when they go in is not very long at all. I mean, we’re talking a day or so,” Rounds said.
The demographic of these criminals usually includes people using illegal drugs who need a way to sustain their habit.
“We’re also seeing drug users who need the money for their drugs starting to do this more, doing burglaries and stealing stuff from vehicles,” Beggs said. “We arrest them all the time. The problem is that on some of these cases, they’re right back out the next day or they’re out in two to three hours.”
Hotspots include Home Depot and market stores like Stater Brothers with big parking lots and unattended cars, which might be unlocked. Burglars have also begun targeting cars parked on residential streets.
“You’re getting people that are just walking up and down neighborhoods testing car doors to see if they are open and whatever they can get they get. And if they see something they really like in a car, like somebody leaves a computer or laptop, they’re breaking into the vehicles to steal those,” Beggs said.
avoid inviting opportunities for criminals
There are also thieves, usually crew members from outside of La Mirada, breaking into homes. They typically knock on doors to see which houses have tenants during the day. If someone is home, the thief will pose as a sales person. If not, they will force themselves in.
“If somebody is home, they come up with some excuse for why they’re there. Either they’re selling something or they’re looking for somebody,” Rounds said. “The city has policies for door to door solicitations. It requires a permit. If somebody is legitimately selling items door to door in a city, it requires a permit… right now there are zero [permits out],” Rounds said.
The sheriff’s department encourages residents to avoid inviting opportunities for criminals by locking car doors and attending informational meetings held by block captains, who are assigned three to four streets to monitor. Resident volunteers also drive marked vehicles around the city and report suspicious activity. Additionally, La Mirada residents receive weekly newsletters with safety tips and recent crimes.
The sheriff’s department also hosts after-school activities and has public safety members visit high school and middle schools to teach on the dangers of drug abuse and gang involvement.
Although they work alongside the LASD, Campus Safety has its own strategy to insure the university’s safety. This strategy has succeeded in making Biola the safest university in all of California, according to Niche.com.
“We’re in La Mirada, but we have our own jurisdiction and we run our own operations in terms of safety and emergency preparedness. But we work in partnership with the Sheriff department. Now, if you look at the crime statistics, our crime statistics are low on campus,” said Chief John Ojeisekhoba of Campus Safety. “We are proactive and take measures, whatever measures that keep our students and employees safe.”