Friday, July 31, 2009

Small brush fire scorches Elysian Park

The fire burned about four acres near the 1000 block of Elysian Park Avenue near Stadium Way tonight before fire fighters put out the blaze, according to the Los Angeles Fire Department. This is perhaps the sixth small fire to break out in or near Elysian Park this year.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Police search for Echo Park gunman

Sunset Boulevard had been shut down west of Alvarado at about 7 pm as police search for a suspected gang member who officers said was carrying a gun. Canine units were brought in to assist in the search.

Eastside Crime Watch: Assaults and rape in Echo Park and burglaries in Eagle Rock

The most serious crimes between Monday, July 20 and Sunday, July 26 included aggravated assaults and a rape in Echo Park, burglaries in Eagle Rock and nine stolen vehicles in Cypress Park, Glassell Park and Mt. Washington.

Echo Park & Silver Lake (90026)
The 29 crimes reported included the gang related shootings near Effie and Glendale Boulevard on Wednesday night and a rape on Belmont Street just south of the 101 Freeway. Echo Park car and truck owners had a rough week, with eight thefts from vehicles reported.

Lincoln Heights & Montecito Heights (90031)
Two aggravated assaults reported in the 2900 block of Manitou Avenue in Lincoln Heights were among the most serious of 15 total crimes reported.

El Sereno & Monterey Hills (90032)
Three out of the eight crimes in the area occurred in the 5000 block of Valley Boulevard, where a burglary, theft from auto and personal theft were reported.

Boyle Heights (90033)

Three violent robberies were reported out of a total of 17 crimes.

Atwater Village & Silver Lake (90039)
The northeast corner of Silver Lake near the 2 Freeway was the scene of some thefts from vehicles and grand theft autos. There were also two violent robberies in and near Elysian Valley and a trio of stolen vehicles, including two from the 2900 block of Los Feliz Boulevard, in Atwater.

Eagle Rock (90041)
Four out of the 11 crimes reported were burglaries scattered through the neighborhood.

Highland Park (90042)
Two violent robberies and six aggravated assaults, half of them apparently connected to one incident on Shipley Glen Court, were the most serious of 12 crimes reported.

Cypress Park, Glassell Park & Mt. Washington (90065)
Nine vehicles were stolen, three of them near Asbury and Isabel streets.

This weekly report is based on the LAPD's online crime maps and police department reports filtered through

Photo by bcmasac1 via Flickr

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Scam artsts target Spanish-speaking renters in Northeast Los Angeles

At least two renters who responded to a Spanish-language flyer advertising houses for rent have been swindled of the money they gave to persons posing as landlords of properties they did not own, police said today. Two persons believed to be responsible for the scam have been arrested but officials in the LAPD Northeast division are looking for other renters who might have also lost money in the scam which involved foreclosed homes, according to a press release:

"The suspects targeted the Hispanic community by placing flyers throughout the Northeast community. The flyers, written in Spanish, advertised homes for rent. The suspects arranged to meet with victims, presenting themselves as the legal owners of the residence. The suspects then collected money in exchange for a promise to rent the home to the victims. The victims later discovered the properties were foreclosed homes and the suspects had no connections to the properties."

Police will provide more details at a Friday morning press conference at the Northeast Division station.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Echo Park shooting on Glendale Boulevard *

At least two persons were shot multiple times in Echo Park tonight in what may have been a gang related shooting, according to early information from the Los Angeles Police Department.

The victims, including a 25-year-old male, were still breathing when police arrived on the scene in response to the shooting that took place at about 10:30 pm, said LAPD spokeswoman Karen Rayner. Both victims had been transported to nearby hospitals, she said.

The shooting occurred on Glendale Boulevard near Sunset Boulevard. Earlier reports from police and residents had indicated that the shooting had taken place near Effie Street. One resident reported hearing at least nine shots.

Rayner said it was not clear if Glendale Boulevard was open or not because of the shooting, which took place as Dodger fans were leaving the stadium.

* Update: The two male victims were shot at from a passing vehicle, according to preliminary information, said LAPD spokesman Richard French Thursday morning. One victim was shot in the leg and stomach; the other in the head and back. Both victims were in critical but stable condition this morning.

Police warn Los Feliz residents of burglary spree

Five burglaries were recently reported in Los Feliz, including three in a single day, according to an email alert sent by the LAPD Northeast Division. One resident arrived to find two suspects running out of the house after it had been ransacked. The burglaries have been reported on Ambrose, Kenmore and Vermont.

Moving is never easy - even for Hollenbeck cops

The opening of the LAPD's new Hollenbeck station in Boyle Heights was long over due. But the move came at a bad time for division detectives who were dealing with a spike in violence, reports EGP News:

"The sudden burst in violence has not make the officer’s transition into their new headquarters easier. A homicide detective told EPG that most of his information concerning at least one of the recent murders was still stored in moving boxes. He said he had yet to receive new business cards with his updated information."

Monday, July 20, 2009

LAPD Northeast Newsletter: July 3 was Dogtown Day

The LAPD's newest anti-gang program requires each division to launch an all-day crack down on a single gang. On July 3, the Northeast Division selected Highland Park's Dogtown gang, with officers arresting 44 suspects, issuing 56 traffic citations, and impounding four vehicles, said Northeast Division Capt. Bill Murphy in the most recent Northeast Newsletter. "This effort dramatically reduced gang violence in this area over the 4th of July weekend," he said.

As for crime between July 5th through July 15, car thieves were busy in Cypress Park, where eight vehicles were stolen (Hondas were hot) in the late evening hours. Stolen cars and other property crime also continued to be a problem in Echo Park near Sunset and Glendale boulevards. Murphy said a few arrests were made in connection with the Echo Park crimes. In Highland Park, store owners might feel a bit safer after a burglar suspected of stealing cash from registers along the Figueroa Street corridor was arrested after being identified on a store video tape in Glendale.

In upcoming events, the Northeast Division and the Episcopal Dioceses in Los Angeles will host a luncheon Tuesday, July 21, in Echo Park to draw members to the Northeast Division Clergy Council. On July 28, the department will hold a summit of Senior Lead Officer, who are supposed to serve as the main connection between the neighborhood residents and the department, at Dodger Stadium. All residents are welcome to attend the free event.

Photo by Waltarrrr via Flickr

Friday, July 17, 2009

Echo Park gunnman evades capture

Police failed to capture a suspect armed with a gun after a lengthy search Thursday night in Echo Park. However, officers were able to recover a weapon, said LAPD spokeswoman Tenesha Dobine this morning. No other new details were available.

It's still not clear what prompted the search for the suspect at about 9 pm that forced the closure of Echo Park Avenue near Ewing Street to traffic and left a police helicopter to hover overhead for about two hours. Readers in the comment section of the earlier story reported seeing officers in their driveways and of shots being fired after 10:30 pm.

An officer at the Northeast Division Police Station said Thursday night that a task force was in the area searching for a gang member. The search began after the LAPD said police units were deployed before 9 pm to the 1500 block of Ewing Street. There were no reports of a shooting.

Photo by Cainmark via Flickr

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Police seeking Echo Park gunman

Police had blocked off Echo Park Avenue at Duane Street shortly after 9 pm. as they search for a suspect armed with a gun, an officer said at the scene. Police cars were seen parked in front of a house on Echo Park Avenue between Duane and Ewing streets as an LAPD helicopter hovered over head.

An officer at the LAPD Northeast Division station said a task force was in the area searching for a gang member. An LAPD spokeswoman said police units were deployed before 9 pm to the 1500 block of Ewing Street. There were no reports of a shooting. The spokeswoman said she did not know what triggered tonight's search, which was still underway at 10:30 pm

Fire breaks out at a Boyle Heights carniceria

Fire crews were responding to a blaze this morning at the Zamora Bros. meat market and bakery at 1503 Cesar Chavez Avenue in Boyle Heights, according to an eyewitness who drove by the scene. Employees were seen standing outside the longtime business near White Memorial Hospital as a plume of smoke drifted across the area.

Photo by Kevin Kuzma

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Playing catch up with crime stats

If you are one of the Echo Park and Silver Lake residents who gets daily EveryBlock updates about new crime reports, don't panic. Today's email for the 90026 Zip Code contained reports of 41 new crimes, including a rape, murder and seven stolen vehicles. Tuesday's daily update was even worse: 166 crimes, including 69 thefts from vehicles. What's going on?

The data crunchers at EveryBlock are catching up with the 19,000 crimes that the Los Angeles Police Department has added to its public data base of crime reports viewable at LAPD crime maps. EveryBlock co-founder Dan O'Neil said the Chicago-based firm has gone through and scraped all the new crimes dating back to Jan. 1 from the LAPD site and added them to its own pool of crime stats, which The Eastsider uses for its Eastside Crime Watch. "We believe we have everything in there right now."

Good. Now all we have to worry about is our cars getting broken into.

A dark night the Midnight Riddaz would rather forget

The Los Angeles bike community is still talking about the attack on a group of cyclists who rode in last Friday's Midnight Ridazz run through Highland Park. At least they are trying to talk about it. Postings about the confrontation between cyclists and residents on Avenue 52 near the Pasadena Freeway have been removed from Midnight Ridazz message board, notes the blogger at 90042:

"At this point, the Ridazz are keeping quiet about the incident, (deleting any discussion about the shooting on their message boards) preferring to ride on, and not let this ugliness mire the bike movement."

But the Highland Park blog does provide the most comprehenisve account of the attack, which reportedly involved members of a house party throwing beer bottles and firing a shot at the cyclists as they rode by"

"When the rolling mass of cyclists with blinking lights, bells, horns, and amplified music trailers went rolling by a house party on 52, the occupants there started yelling, “Fuck you white boys!” (despite the diverse crowd of men and women of every skin color) As the blocks-long group of bikes continued to pass, the group of men in the yard started throwing beer bottles, pots, and anything they could find at the cyclists. (As of this post, there was still bits of broken Corona bottles and white ceramic shards in the Avenue there.) Then they came at them with shovels and started knocking people off bikes and successfully manage to steal one bike from a local cyclist as he was dodging a swinging shovel.

As the cyclists tried to defend themselves and rescue the fallen cyclists from the street, someone from the house pulled out a 22 from his pocket and shot a male cyclist in the back. The shooter then fled, and the other assailants ran back into the house and turned off the lights to hide. Highland Park’s LA Fire Department #12 was on the scene within five minuets. Unfortunately, LAPD officers from Hollenbeck Division didn’t arrive until 15 minutes later. Several suspects were apprehended."

There is a report of an aggravated assault taking place on Avenue 52 near Longfellow Street early Saturday morning, according to the LAPD crime maps. No further details were available.

One Echo Park cyclist, who has participated in several Midnight Ridazz events but was absent from Friday's ride, said he can understand why the group would not want to draw too much attention to the incident. "Cyclists by nature are vulnerable and already face numerous hazards on the streets of Los Angeles. There are many people who bike in that area (myself included) and I'd hate to see us become targets merely because our mode of transportation."

Photo by Digable Soul via Flickr

Thursday, July 9, 2009

LAPD conducts raid against the Toonerville gang in Atwater

The LAPD is scheduled to hold a 6 pm community meeting about the arrests of 20 people in connection with early morning raids against members of the Toonerville gang in north Atwater.

"LAPD Officers and Detectives were able to arrest suspected gang members that were recently served with warrants since the Toonerville Gang Injunction was enacted into law in Los Angeles County," said Sgt. Danny Roman in an email distributed to residents this afternoon.

Today's raid and serving of search warrants by a task force of law enforcement agencies resulted in twenty arrests on a variety of charges, "including four suspects responsible for four murders, four suspects responsible for attempted murder or firearm assaults and 12 suspects for other drug or weapon violations," the LAPD said in a statement.

"In addition to today’s arrests, the task force had already arrested 20 other suspects for a variety of offenses, including assault with a firearm, weapon charges, narcotic offenses and probation/parole violations. Five of these suspects already in custody are also expected to be charged with murder as well."

The investigation leading to the arrests was triggered by the fatal shooting last October of a motorcyclist at the interchange of the 210 and 2 freeways in Glendale.

Police requested an injunction last year against the long-time gang, whose members have been involved in a wide range of criminal activity, including murder, according to the LA Times. In 2007, Toonerville leader Timothy Joseph McGhee was convicted of three murders and of organizing an attack on officers.

Atwater Village Newbie carries an account of a local resident who awoke to gun shots and the SWAT team on the front lawn.

LAPD online crime stats did not add up for Atwater residents

A story in the LA Times today said that the LAPD's online crime map, which the Eastsider uses for the Eastside Crime Watch, fails to include about 40% of the incidents logged into the department's internal reporting system. That was no news to former Atwater resident Jason Insalaco, who had complained about the under reporting of crime to the public on the community's message board.

"The community is not being accurately informed," Insalaco told the Times. "They are being misled and lulled into a false sense of security."

Northeast Division Capt. Bill Murhpy, who oversees Atwater, had previously defended the accuracy of the online crime stats made available to the public. But, Murphy told the Times, he had not checked the map for accuracy even though he and other police and public officials have advised residents to refer to the online system to stay informed.

"From my perspective, any time it's even slightly off, that can cause a question on all the statistics," Murphy told the Times.

LAPD officials said they will check into why so many of the crimes in its internal data base fail to show up on the public maps.

The Eastsider will continue to use information from the LAPD and filtered through to compile the weekly Eastside Crime Watch. While not complete, the LAPD crime maps remains the only publicly accessible and relatively up-to-date source of online crime stats.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Eastside Crime Watch: Murder in Boyle Heights, assaults in Atwater and car crime everywhere else

A murder and rape in Boyle Heights were the most violent crimes reported during the week, which also included a pair of violent robberies in Silver Lake and numerous stolen vehicles across Echo Park, Highland Park and Silver Lake during June 29- July 5.

Echo Park & Silver Lake (90026)
A pair of violent robberies were reported in Silver Lake (on Larrisa and on Sunset Boulevard near Maltman). Otherwise, it was car and truck owners who suffered the most, with about 10 thefts from vehicles in Silver Lake and Echo Park. Hot spots included Echo Park Lake and Sunset Boulevard near Dodger Stadium.

Lincoln Heights & Montecito Heights (90031)

If you live in Lincoln Heights and your vehicle was not stolen last week, consider yourself lucky. Seven vehicles were stolen.

El Sereno & Monterey Hills (90032)
A violent robbery was reported Barnett Way in El Sereno.

Boyle Heights (90033)
A murder and a rape were reported during the 4th of July holiday (they don't show up on EveryBlock but do on the LAPD Crime Maps.) There was also a trio of violent robberies and aggravated assaults.

Atwater Village & Silver Lake (90039)
Five aggravated assaults, a trio on Garden Street and a pair on Larga Avenue, were reported in Atwater. Meanwhile, three vehicles were stolen in northeast Silver Lake.

Eagle Rock (90041)

There were three thefts, from vehicles and persons, reported in the area northwest of York and Eagle Rock Boulevard

Highland Park (90042)
Five vehicles were stolen a few blocks south and north of York Blvd.

Cypress Park, Glassell Park & Mt. Washington (90065)
Three vehicles were stolen in Cypress Park while an aggravated assault and a burglary were reported in Glassell Park west of the 2 Freeway.

This weekly report is based on the LAPD's online crime maps and police department reports filtered through

Photo by bcmasac1 via Flickr

Monday, July 6, 2009

Dear Eastsider: Missing those mail boxes

Jim from Echo Park writes in to warn residents about the downside to having the Postal Service remove the sidewalk mail boxes from his part of the neighborhood.

"I was more than a little cheesed off at the Post Office for removing my local (right across the street) mailbox on Allesandro, but I figured it didn’t meet their criteria for “high traffic.” Then, to add insult to injury, someone stole a check out of my outgoing mail and forged their name on it and I’m out $800.

So- a word to the wise- don’t be a chump like me and put checks in your outgoing mail. Get in your car and waste a half hour and some gas going to the Post Office."

But does the risk of having your outgoing mail stolen outweigh the frustration of waiting in line at the Edendale post office?

Photo by Waltarrrr via Flickr

Sunday, July 5, 2009

A violent 4th of July holiday on the Eastside *

A man described as in his 20s was shot and killed early this morning at a party in the 400 block of Estudillo Avenue in Boyle Heights, reports the Los Angeles Times.

Meanwhile, in El Sereno, police were pelted with bottles on Alhambra Avenue, said The Voice. No reports of violence in Highland Park, but there was plenty of smoke and noise.

In Echo Park, meanwhile, the hundreds of people who had gathered around Echo Park Lake were dispersed by police units on the ground (bottom picture) and in the air to avoid a repeat of incidents in recent years when some palm trees were set afire by fireworks.

"This year police herded everyone out by 9pm, loud speakers blaring: 'The park is closed, fireworks are illegal,'" said a resident who watched the scene from his home near the lake. "A helicopter swept it's light and families dispersed. Fireworks continued in the side streets late in to the night, but it was definitely quieter than last year. Less money to burn I imagine."

In addition to the usual skyrockets and firecrackers, bright red flares also floated above Echo Park north of the lake. The flares, suspended from small parachutes, were seen landing on roof tops.

* This story has been updated with new info from Echo Park.

Top photo by Alonzo D via Flickr; bottom photo by Martin Cox

Fire burns near Police Academy in Elysian Park *

* Update: The fire was extinguished in 42 minutes, said the LAFD.

A small brush fire has burned between 3 to 5 acres just east of the Los Angeles Police Academy, reports the Los Angeles Fire Department. The fire, which is not threatening any buildings, started at about noon near Academy Road. Traffic on Academy Road was being blocked at Stadium Way, said one resident who was driving through Elysian Park after 12 pm.

This is perhaps the sixth small fire to strike in or near the park since the end of April. At least one of the fires is believed to have been set intentionally.

Photo by Rick Morton

Friday, July 3, 2009

Northeast Division Newsletter: Watch those purses

The highlights from the July 2 Northeast Newsletter from Capt. Bill Murphy include news that purse snatchers are working Los Feliz and East Hollywood. Some of the purse snatchers have been seen driving around in a mid 1990s green Honda Civic. In Highland Park, meanwhile, burglars are stealing cash registers from Highland Park businesses. Officers also apprehended two men suspected to be behind some armed robberies in Cypress Park. "Hopefully this will eliminate this type of activity in the area," Murphy said in the email newsletter.

So far this year, through September 27, crime in Northeast is running below last year's figures. here are the Year-to-Date (YTD) figures Murphy provided:

YTD Violent Crime: Down 9.8%

YTD Property Crime: Down 22.2%

YTD Part I (total): Down 20.1%

YTD Homicide: Down 55.6% (8 vs. 18 last year)

YTD Robbery: Up 0.4% (up one crime versus last year 239 vs. 238)

  • All categories of crimes (except robbery) are down significantly compared to last year
  • We are down 684 total crimes YTD
  • NOE Area ranks FIRST in crime reduction City-wide (out of 21 police stations)
Photo by Miracle Machine via Flickr

Vandals strike at Echo Park gas station *

The new owners of Magic Gas in Echo Park had put up signs earlier this week announcing that they had finally been able to get all the fuel pumps working again. But this morning Zina Mikayelyan arrived to find that all the nozzles to the pumps had been stolen over night and that wires to the security cameras had been severed.

Mikayelyan and her partner, Art Bagousky, have already invested a substantial amount of money to create a mini-market at Magic Gas. They have been soliciting ideas from residents as to what to stock at the store. They even restored the name "Magic Gas" in response to comments from residents.

Police were on the scene this morning getting details. If you have any information, call the LAPD Northeast Division at (213) 485-2563.

* Update: Mikayelyan purchased new nozzles this morning to keep the gas flowing.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Eastside Crime Watch *

Burglars were busy in Boyle Heights while criminals drove off with six cars in Echo Park and Silver Lake during June 22-28.

Echo Park & Silver Lake (90026)
There was trouble along a stretch of Alvarado between Sunset Boulevard and Montana Street in Echo Park, with two aggravated assaults reported on Sunday and violent robbery taking place a few days before. Most of the 21 crimes reported during the week were auto related, included six stolen vehicles in Echo Park and Silver Lake.

Lincoln Heights & Montecito Heights (90031)
Vehicle related crimes dominated the 10 incidents reported during the week. Four thefts from vehicles were reported near the intersection of Manitou Avenue and Thomas Street in Lincoln Heights.

El Sereno & Monterey Hills (90032)
Four out of the six crimes were reported were stolen vehicles in El Sereno.

Boyle Heights (90033)
Burglars hit six locations across the neighborhood.

Atwater Village & Silver Lake (90039)
Three out of the four crimes reported were vehicle related.

Eagle Rock (90041)

All but one of the six crimes, including an aggravated assault on Colorado Boulevard, took place in the western portion of the neighborhood.

Highland Park (90042)
Two out of the seven crimes reported were burglaries.

Cypress Park, Glassell Park & Mt. Washington (90065)
Two violent robberies hit Cypress Park and a pair of aggravated assaults were reported in Glassell Park.

* Correction: A previous version of this post said that most of the crimes in Eagle Rock took place in the eastern portion of the neighborhood. They were actually in the western portion. Thanks to Marcos El Malo for pointing that out.

This weekly report is based on the LAPD's online crime maps and police department reports filtered through

Photo by bcmasac1 via Flickr