Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Eastside Crime Watch

Thieves made off with nine vehicles in El Sereno while robbers struck at four Boyle Heights locations and burglars were on the prowl through Elysian Valley. Here are some of the major crimes reported during the week of Sept. 21- 27 based on information from the LAPD crime map and

Echo Park & Silver Lake (90026)
Mostly vehicle related crime across the area and three personal thefts reported within a few blocks around Echo Park Lake.

Lincoln Heights & Montecito Heights (90031)
Two aggravated assaults reported in Lincoln Heights but most of the crimes were vehicle related. Three vehicles were stolen (according to LAPD crime map) on or near Avenue 26 between Pasadena Avenue and Lacy.

El Sereno & Monterey Hills (90032)
Car and truck owners should be on watch. Nine vehicles were stolen during the week.

Boyle Heights (90033)
Four violent robberies, most of them on or near Soto Street, were reported. Burglars struck at three locations near Lorena Street and the 60 Freeway (LAPD crime map).

Atwater Village & Silver Lake (90039)
Three properties were burglarized in the northern section of Elysian Valley.

Eagle Rock (90041)
Most of the crimes was vehicle related, with three cars and trucks stolen on or west of Eagle Rock Boulevard. There were also some vehicle crime - grand theft auto and thefts from vehicles- reported south and east of Occidental College.

Highland Park (90042)
Most of the crime, including a pair of stolen vehicles, a robbery, personal theft and burglary - took place on or near Figueroa between Avenue 51 and York.

Cypress Park, Glassell Park & Mt. Washington (90065)
Two thefts from vehicles were reported along San Fernando Road in Glassell Park, where there were also two burglaries. Cypress Park had two reports of grand theft auto and personal theft was reported in Mt. Washington.

This weekly report is based on the LAPD's online crime maps and police department reports filtered by ZIP code through There are sometimes discrepancies between the LAPD and EveryBlock statistics at the time when Eastside Crime Watch is compiled. Additional crimes might be added to the reports following the publication of this post.

Monday, September 28, 2009

What a difference a major gang raid makes

The massive raid against the Avenues gang last week has already paid off with a steep drop in crime, said LAPD Northeast Division Capt. Bill Murphy. Some of the figures Murphy shared with resident in an email newsletter today included:

"As we expected, overall crime dropped last week in the wake of the gang takedown: violent crime was down 37.5%, property crime down 27.5% and overall crime (part I) was down 28.8%. Burglary was the only crime to increase."

The number of major crimes reported last week in the Northeast Division fell to 89 from 125 the previous week, Murphy said in a separate email. Murphy did not break out the statistics by neighborhoods. The massive raid, which Murphy described as the city's largest "gang takedown," focused primarily in Glassell Park and nearby neighborhoods that serve as Avenues strongholds. More than 200 alleged gang members have been arrested in the past 16 months as part of raids against the Avenues, Toonerville and Drew Street gangs, Murphy said.

In other highlights from his report, Murphy said three burglaries were reported recently in Elysian Valley, which resulted in the increase in burglaries division wide. Also, in Echo Park, police arrested a person suspected of car break-ins.

Why senior lead officers keep coming and going through Cypress Park & Glassell Park

Last week's predawn raid against the Avenues gang in Glassell Park, Cypress Park and other neighborhoods featured an army of more than 1,200 officers from different agencies. But, after the raid was over and media helicopters had flown to other hot spots, the same thin blue line was left to keep order. In fact, members of the NELA List complained about the lack of senior lead officers in Cypress Park and Glassell Park. Many senior lead officers serve as the primarily link between neighborhood residents and the LAPD, working on day-to-day crime problems that don't attract an army of law enforcement or reporters.

"Cypress Park has been without a Senior Lead Officer for a long time," said one person on the NELA List. "Tell Ed Reyes office that Cypress Park needs a Senior Lead Officer."

Capt. Bill Murphy, whose LAPD Northeast Division covers both neighborhoods, said a senior lead officer has been working both communities - but on a temporary basis. Murphy blamed a department freeze on promotions for preventing him from assigning a permanent, senior lead officer to handle Cypress Park and Glassell Park. Without being able to promote officers into a senior lead role, Murphy said he's forced to rotate officers through that position every six months, according to union rules. The most recent temporary senior lead officer to come and go was named Leo Rey. "People loved him but I had to move him out," Murphy said.

Murphy praises senior leads as " great resource" to keep tabs on quality of life and other crimes by developing strong relationships with residents. But, when the person filling the senior lead job keeps changing, relationships have to be reestablished. "That adds to the confusion," Murphy said. "Maybe some things don't get reported."

With the city facing a budget crunch, Murphy doesn't see money being freed up in the immediate future to permanently fill the senior lead job in Cypress Park and Glassell Park. He praised the officer currently filling the slot, Fernando Ochoa. But Murphy advised residents not to get to used to him. His six months will also be up eventually.

Photo by Simon Clare/Flickr

Scenes from an Echo Park Accident

An early morning traffic accident at Sunset Boulevard and Echo Park Avenue left one car on the sidewalk and another vehicle smashed in the middle of the intersection, according to the Echo Park Trading Post, which also published more photos from the accident scene. The small car pictured above came to a halt near vendors and a busy bus stop at the southeast corner of the Echo Park intersection. The accident occurred at about 7 am.

The LAPD Lt. Leos with LAPD's Central Traffic Bureau said she had not received any reports of major injuries from officers in the field.

In April, a traffic accident at the same intersection resulted in at least one minor injury.

Photo from Echo Park Trading Post website

Friday, September 25, 2009

Grass fire destroys Montecito Heights home

A small but fast moving fire destroyed a Montecito Heights home and two garages this afternoon on Homer Street near Avenue 43, according to the Los Angeles Fire Department. A team of more than 90 firefighters put out the blaze in a little more than 30 minutes, said LAFD spokesman Erik Scott. However, the blaze, which began at about 2:3o pm, quickly destroyed a two-story, single family home.

A Montecito Heights resident said he saw sparks fly from a power line before it broke and fell, triggering the fire according to the Los Angeles Times. The fire department, however, had not determined a cause for the blaze, said Scott. Arson investigators were on the scene. Scott the said the fire was located at 4300 North Homer Street.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Eastside Crime Watch

The Sunset Boulevard corridor through Silver Lake got hit with several reports of personal thefts while Atwater and Highland Park suffered through multiple burglaries. Here are some of the major crimes reported during the week of Sept. 14- 20 based on information from the LAPD crime map and

Echo Park & Silver Lake (90026)
Two violent robberies were reported north of Echo Park Lake on Lemoyne Street. Meanwhile, in Silver Lake, about a half dozen personal thefts were reported on or near Sunset Boulevard between Benton and Myra.

Lincoln Heights & Montecito Heights (90031)
There were two vehicles reported stolen in Lincoln Heights. Separate aggravated assaults also took place in Lincoln Heights and Montecito Heights.

El Sereno & Monterey Hills (90032)
Crime reports included four stolen vehicles and five burglaries across the area. Two aggravated assaults and three person assaults were reported on or near Huntington Drive in El Sereno.

Boyle Heights (90033)
Six personal thefts, mostly in the south end of Boyle Heights, and about half a dozen stolen vehicles were among the crimes reported.

Atwater Village & Silver Lake (90039)
Five burglaries (according to the LAPD crime map) were reported in Atwater as the LAPD residents warned residents to take extra precautions to protect their homes and property. Two thefts from vehicles were reported in the northwest corner of Silver Lake.

Eagle Rock (90041)
Most of the crimes was vehicle related, with several stolen vehicles and thefts from vehicles reported in the area roughly between York Boulevard and Occidental College.

Highland Park (90042)
Four burglaries Four burglaries and six stolen vehicles were among the crimes reported.

Cypress Park, Glassell Park & Mt. Washington (90065)
A violent robbery was reported in Cypress Park and Glassell Park. Thieves broke into a total of five vehicles in Glassell Park and Cypress Park, where residents also reported two stolen vehicles.

This weekly report is based on the LAPD's online crime maps and police department reports filtered by ZIP code through There are sometimes discrepancies between the LAPD and EveryBlock statistics at the time when Eastside Crime Watch is compiled.

Photo by bcmacsak1/Flickr

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Police warn residents of Atwater burglaries

A recent string of burglaries in Atwater Village prompted the Los Angeles Police Department to advise residents to take extra steps to protect their homes and belongings. Most of the burglaries have occurred during the day but are not believed to be related, according to a community e-mail alert sent by the Northeast LAPD Monday evening.

One burglary suspect was observed cutting a screen and entering a home through an open window. In another case, burglars entered through a front door after distracting an elderly residents, police said. The burglaries have taken place on several streets, including the 2900 and 3100 block of Los Feliz Boulevard.

Photo by v3S170/Flickr

Police did not say how many burglaries have been reported. But, the according to LAPD statistics on, 8 burglaries have been reported in Atwater between Aug. 24 and Sept. 14.

Law enforcement raid targets Avenues gang

About 1,200 officers from the LAPD and federal agencies swept through Glassell Park this morning in search of members of the violent Avenues gang, the LA Times reports. Officers with warrants raided homes in search of more than 50 alleged gang members wanted on "array of federal charges related to extensive drug dealing, unsolved murders and other crimes." The operation began at 3 a.m and was coordinated from a command post located near the LAPD Police Academy in Elysian Park. Media helicopters hovered over the command post this morning.

Officials from the LAPD, City Attorney and other agencies will hold a community meeting tonight at Washington Irving Middle School to discuss the raid with residents.

Today's raid is the most recent assault against the Avenues gang, considered among the largest and most dangerous gangs in the city. Last year in June, police targeted the homes of alleged gang members along Drew Street, a gang stronghold in Glassell Park. Police celebrated the one-year anniversary of the raid and the relatively peaceful conditions it brought to the neighborhood. However, a few weeks later, Drew Street was the site the of another murder and several serious crimes.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Elderly Angelino Heights couple falls prey to DWP imposters

Criminals posing as Department of Water & Power Workers struck in Angelino Heights last week, burglarizing the home of an elderly couple on 900 block of Boylston Street. Both residents, who are in their 80s, fell victim to con artists that frequently target the elderly, said Lt. Wes Buhrmester with the Rampart Dectective Division. Buhrmester, in a comment to Wednesday's Eastside Crime Watch, described the set up this way:

"Two males posing at DWP employees will contact elderly people at their residence, and advise they need to check electrical or water connections inside their home, or in the back yard. When the victims are speaking with the "DWP employees," an additional suspect will enter their house and steal money and jewelry. The suspect prey upon the trust of the elderly victims."

Investigating this type of crime can be tough because its difficult to obtain positive identification of the suspects from elderly victims who are often debilitated, he said. Residents who want to check the credentials of DWP workers can call the department's security office at (213) 367-3373 or (213) 367-9111.

Photo from

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Eastside Crime Watch

Burglars were busy in Angelino Heights and there were three reports of violent robberies in Lincoln Heights during. Here are some of the crimes reported during the week of Sept. 7- 13 based on the LAPD crime map:

Echo Park & Silver Lake (90026)
Three burglaries in Angelino Heights- on the 900 block of Kensington, 11oo block of Laveta and the 500 block of Boylston - were among the crimes reported during the week. In Silver Lake, five cars were stolen in the blocks north of Sunset Boulevard between Coronado and Micheltorena.

Lincoln Heights & Montecito Heights (90031)
There were three violent robberies reported in Lincoln Heights. One of the robberies as well as a burglary and and a pair of personal thefts occurred along the North Broadway commercial strip.

El Sereno & Monterey Hills (90032)
Three auto related crimes and a personal theft along Huntington Drive in El Sereno were among the crimes reported.

Boyle Heights (90033)
Six cars were stolen around the neighborhood. Two of those stolen vehicle reports as well as a violent robbery and personal theft took place in the area around County USC Medical Center.

Atwater Village & Silver Lake (90039)
A burglaries and a pair of personal thefts around the Costco shopping center were among the crimes reported in Atwater.

Eagle Rock (90041)
Two burglaries along Eagle Rock Boulevard and a violent robbery in the 7300 block of Figueroa Street were among the crimes reported.

Highland Park (90042)
There were two reports of Grand Theft Auto and four thefts from vehicles in the Garvana area

Cypress Park, Glassell Park & Mt. Washington (90065)
Crimes includes three thefts from vehicles were reported on the north end of Cypress Park near Glassell Park.

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

Photo by lobraumeister via Flickr

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Transgender residents team up with LAPD on East Hollywood murder investigation

The LAPD Rampart Division is searching for a man they believe might have information related to the August 28 killing of Paulina Ibarra, a transgendered person, who was stabbed to death in her East Hollywood apartment. Police are seeking help from the public in looking for Jesus Catalan (pictured). Catalan, a parolee-at-large, is not a suspect in the case but a person of interest that detectives would like to question about the killing on the 900 block of North Mariposa Avenue. Catalan, who is probably homeless, frequents East Hollywood and the Rampart District. He is considered armed and dangerous.

The police don't have a suspect yet but have been working with gay, lesbian and transgendered residents and advocacy groups to get information about the killing, said Lt. Wes Buhrmester with the LAPD Rampart Detective Division. "We've identified a person of interest, due almost entirely to the transgender community coming forth."

The person who killed Ibarra was not believed to be targeting transgendered people but he probably knew the victim, said Buhrmester. "We also do not believe hate or prejudice was a motive, but we are not excluding that possibility. If evidence surfaces to lead us to believe this was a hate crime, we will aggressively pursue that avenue."

The LAPD is scheduled to hold a press conference on the investigation Thursday, Buhrmester said.

More details:
Community Alert
Alerta a la comunidad

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Traffic accident leaves two dead and several injured in Mt. Washington *

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Two people, including a six-year-old girl, were killed and several others injured Friday night in a head-on collision on Figueroa Street near Avenue 41, officials said.

Sgt. Jeff Siggers with the Central Traffic Bureau said the two victims, a six-year-old girl and a 51-year-old woman, were traveling northbound in a van on Figueroa when a southbound pick-up truck crossed into their lane and struck them head-on.

Fire fighters reporting to an emergency call at about 10 pm arrived to find one person dead at the scene. The Los Angeles Fire Department had said earlier that five people - two in critical condition - were transported to hospitals for treatment.

Residents said Figueroa remained closed in both directions until late this morning

* Update at 2:32 pm: The driver of the pick-up truck has been arrested and was believed to be driving under the influence when the vehicle struck the van, said Sgt. Siggers. The driver may faces murder charges, he said. The six-year-old girl (earlier police information had described her as a five-year-old) died after being transported to a hospital, he said. The relationship between the two victims is not known but both resided in the area near the accident, Siggers said.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Police arrest two car burlgary suspects in Silver Lake

The LAPD arrested two car burglars in the northeast section of Silver Lake last night after a lengthy search that involved helicopters in the air and police dogs on the ground. LAPD Northeast Division Watch Commander Sanford Rosenberg said this afternoon that two suspects were arrested after allegedly breaking into two cars in the area of Glendale Boulevard and Fletcher Street. A third suspect, however, got away and was still at large, he said.

Some residents in the northeast portion of Silver Lake say there has been a recent increase in vehicle thefts and break-ins, according to the Corralitas Red Car Property Blog, which has posted photos of recent car crime.

Last night's search may have netted two potential car burglars but it left behind many sleep-deprived Silver Lake residents. Not only were they kept awake by the roar of the helicopter but also by the frequent warnings issued by its crew over a loudspeaker. One resident named Jenny heard warnings like "Might as well give up ... Throw down your weapons ..." and "The dogs will bite you."

Photo by NoHoDamon via Flickr

Echo Park fire leaves $350,000 in damages and one man without a wardrobe

The fire that hit an Echo Park mini mall at 2 am on Thursday caused an estimated $350,000 in damage, according to the Los Angeles Fire Department:

"Firefighters arrived to find a 1 story, L-shaped Mini Mall, approximately 100 foot x 75 foot, with 2 units showing heavy smoke and fire. Engine Companies on scene made an aggressive interior attack with hand lines while Truck Companies provided ladders to the roof and started vertical ventilation. The roof construction was made of lightweight wooden I beam. Truck companies were able to stand over a breeze-way that presented a stable surface to remain on while cutting a heat hole over the fire."

It's still not clear what caused the blaze, which apparently gutted most of Regency Cleaners at Echo Park Avenue and Montana Street. It's also not certain what are options for many Regency customers whose clothes have been lost or damaged, including one man named John who left a comment on the Echo Elysian Forum:

"If anyone knows the owners or hears anything about insurance - please post. I had over 30 pieces being cleaned."

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Small fire snarls Dodger game traffic

A small brush fire tonight forced the closure of one of the main exits from Dodger Stadium, snarling traffic as thousands of fans exited the ball park. The fire, which began near the main stadium gate, broke out shortly after 9 pm and burned less than one-quarter acre at the northwest corner of Stadium Way and Elysian Park Avenue, said a fire fighter at the scene. Elysian Park Avenue, which connects leads from the main stadium gate to Sunset Boulevard, was shut down as the fire department used it as a staging area. Elysian Park Avenue was still shut down at about 10 pm. The cause of the fire had not been determined.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Why did LAPD wait to warn about crime against Echo Park kids?

The bluffs to the west of Echo Park Lake offer sweeping views of the park and lake below. But this same scenic overlook is also believed to be a favorite hang-out for a man suspected of assaulting three girls, who have been grabbed from behind in what police think may have been potential kidnapping attempts. All three girls got away from their attacker as they walked near two bridges that cross the 101 Freeway, including the Belmont pedestrian bridge (pictured). The first known assault took place in March and the most recent about two weeks ago. But LAPD, which is scheduled to hold a press conference on the assaults this morning near the Belmont bridge issued a community alert only last week. Why did they wait so long to warn the community? Police say the decision to warn or wait is a complicated one.


The same issue came up last May when some Glassell Park residents asked why the LAPD Northeast Division issued a community e-mail alert about the assaults on two school girls a week after the incident too place. In contrast, a kidnapping attempt in April against a girl walking to a middle school in Silver Lake prompted the police to issue an e-mail warning a few hours after the crime and to hold a press conference the next day.

Police say they constantly struggle as to when to alert residents to ongoing crime, especially when it's not clear who they are looking for or if there is a connection between incidents. In the case of the Echo Park assaults, nearby schools did notify parents of the attacks even though school was not in session, said Lt. Wes Buhrmester with the Rampart Detective Division.

"An issue with which we constantly wrestle is when to disseminate information, and to what degree," said Buhrmester via email. "In this case, although the first case did occur in the spring, we were not reasonably sure, to our comfort, that the same suspect was involved in all three cases. As time went on and the investigation proceeded forth (locating and interviewing additional witnesses), we believed one suspect was responsible for all three crimes. At that point in time, the community alert was published."

Today's press conference is scheduled for 10:30 a.m at 400 North Belmont.