Here at Crosstown, we examine publicly available crime report data from multiple LA County law enforcement agencies. We have a robot on the team called the Detective that scans the LAPD data for anomalies. LAPD officers tag most crime reports in their system with MO codes, for “modus operandi,” Latin for operating method or style. The MO codes are shorthand for describing what happened in a crime incident.
Here are a couple recent examples of what the Detective has found, aggregated by the robot’s human assistant, Kate Lý Johnston.
June 7, 2019
The Detective noticed the rare crime code 661: Unauthorized Computer Access. According to publicly available LAPD data, a 51-year-old man fell victim to internet extortion, a cybercrime in which a suspect demands “payment through the use of or threat of some form of malicious activity.”
These crimes can come in the form of fraudulent emails, the ones in which war heroes and princes from foreign countries ask people to transfer them money so they can escape prison camps.
In this instance, however, the victim was asked for more than just money — the crime was also tagged with code 0355: Demanded Property Other Than Money, though it is unclear what exactly the suspect demanded. Regardless, it seems the victim fell for at least part of the trick, as the data indicate that the computer ended up being infected with a virus.
The data also stated that the infected computer was located in a dental office in Woodland Hills, leading to at least one hopeful conclusion: not all dentists are heartless, drill-wielding bad guys after all, if they’re willing to help princes from distant lands.
June 14, 2019
According to publicly available LAPD data, a suspect, who was partially nude and believed to be homeless, threw rocks at police officers. No arrests have been made, though the nude homeless suspect has not been seen in the data since.