Between September 19 – 25 there were 18 home break-ins in the community of 6th to 10th St. between Redondo and Arlington. Between September 28 to October 4 there were twenty between Olympic and 8th, west of Orange and then over by La Cienaga and San Vicente. “Flockin” a term criminals use for a specific kind of home robbery, is on the rise.
It goes like this….there are two to four criminals involved. On the targeted block, criminal #1 sits low in a car listening to police car frequencies, cell phone in hand. #2 goes up and knocks on a door. If someone answers they ask if so and so lives there, apologize for getting the wrong address and move on. More likely if they hear someone coming they turn around and quickly leave. IF no one answers the door, they and others will try to get to the back of the house and break in either through unlocked doors, kicking a door in, or smashing a window. They are looking for jewelry, cash (often left in easy to find places) electronics, iPads and computers. Meanwhile #1 sits in the car acting as look out, with the seat dropped back to avoid obvious detection. He (or she) will call and warn their partners if they observe the homeowner arrive.
One neighbor described being on the toilet when a teen walked by the open bathroom door. The back door had been left unlocked and both were surprised to see each other. The kid apologized for being in the “wrong” house, claimed he was just looking for a “friend” and high tailed it out before the neighbor could get off the toilet. In another community a neighbor found some local yard dogs wandering the street during the middle of the day and led them back to their yard where the gate had been left swinging open. The dogs had been let out of the yard by thieves who took everything of value out of the house. Contrary to popular belief…guard dogs are more effective inside the house than in a yard.
Detective Porche with the Wilshire Station Burglary Division said he found it difficult to understand why people didn’t get burglary alarms claiming “even cheap ones are better than nothing.” Once neighbors know what to look for, Officer Porche suggests they keep an eye on things. If you see a suspicious stranger hanging around in a car on the street, slung low in his seat, call dispatch, 213- 928-8223 saying you suspect a burglary might be in progress. License plate numbers may or may not be useful as the cars are often rented. Share suspicious activity with your neighbors. One neighbor shared a security video with their online community group of a guy flockin their house. The video shows the stranger coming up to their door, knocking, then turning and leaving when he realized someone was coming to the door - all while talking into a cell phone. Someone else shared a photo of a stranger who had been hanging out on their block over a few days.
Detective Porche says it’s the crime of choice and easy money for seasoned criminals and gang members. Because of lighter sentencing, this particular crime is preferred over the old-fashioned “stick up” or nighttime break-ins when people are home. With the overcrowding of prisons, they often get only six months to two years, substantially less than what they would get when a gun is involved.
Established in August of 2008 by writer, artist Dianne V. Lawrence, The Neighborhood News covers the events, people, history, politics and historic architecture of communities throughout the Mid-City and West Adams area in Los Angeles Council District 10.