LAPD officers are presenting to residents, via the Pacific Palisades Community Council, the challenges of policing in this community. The first of three presentations was on January 27, via Zoom.
Crime is regularly reported on social media, such as the incident a Marquez Knolls resident reported on February 2: “A couple working together stole some items from my father’s car—he was away five minutes and left it unlocked. The man was carrying a large full backpack.”
Another person chimed in: “I live on Chapala and had the same thing happen two weeks ago. Maddening. I’m sure it’s not the same guy but curious. I have video plain as day.”
Another person said, “Someone called me and found my son’s backpack in a garbage can. They stole it and ditched it when they found it had nothing of value in it.”
Another wrote: “I had my purse stolen two weeks ago from my car. Accidentally left it overnight unlocked in my car. I know better, and just forgot. I have video plain as day to identify. I had to work very hard to file a police report because they are reluctant for the extra paperwork. But I needed if for insurance.”
A local activist advised everyone to report all crimes to LAPD Palisades Senior Lead Officer Brian Espin because “if we do not report these crimes we will not have a police force in our community. The more we report, the more support we get.”
During the West LAPD presentation, there was an effort to educate residents about the way the department is set up, which helps to explain why residents in this area believe there’s a dearth of police presence.
Commanding Officer of the West L.A. Division, Captain Jonathan Tom reported that unlike Sheriff Alex Villenueva who is elected, LAPD Chief Michel Moore is appointed by Mayor Eric Garcetti, which means he doesn’t answer to voters.
Additionally, LAPD is overseen by a five-member civilian board, also appointed by the Mayor, which sets policies for the Department and oversees its operations. The commissioners are volunteers and serve a maximum of two five-year terms.
According to Tom, there are 10,100 authorized officer positions for LAPD, but right now there are only 9,515 officers, citywide. In West L.A. there are positions for 245, but the current number is only 219.
The West Bureau covers 121.77 square miles and 899,948 residents, and includes West L.A., Wilshire, Olympic and Pacific Divisions.
Tom discussed Part 1 Crimes. The Violent Part 1 crimes include homicide, rape, aggravated assault, and robbery. The Property crimes associated with Part 1 are burglary, motor vehicle theft, burglary theft from vehicle and larceny.
Tom said that for West L.A., which includes Pacific Palisades, there are 65 square miles and only seven basic cars. “We need more patrol cars,” he said.
One PPCC board member said, “People are concerned whether they are getting their fair share of officials here.”
Tom said that the assigned car here is always staffed, “but it will get pulled out of the community when there is an arrest.”
He also said that Pacific Palisades gets its fair share because of the beach detail — two assigned officers that specifically help the Pacific Palisades Homeless Task Force in preventing transients from camping in Very High Fire Severity Zones.
Tom was asked if there was any way to increase the number of patrol officers here. He said that in Council District 5, $300,000 was given out of the councilperson’s discretionary funds. “If CD 11 wanted, they could use funds to help pay for overtime hours.”
To listen to the entire presentation, visit: pacpalicc.org.