The Detective: Food truck is the scene of the crime

Anomalous crime reports Aug. 25 - Sep. 4, 2019

At Crosstown, we examine publicly available crime report data from multiple Los Angeles 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.


? Going drunk to work can be fun, until you get arrested for doing something stupid on the clock.


At 11:45 a.m. on Aug. 23, the Detective caught rare crime code 445: Dishonest Employee Attempted Theft. According to publicly available LAPD data, a drunk employee tried to take merchandise from a DIY Center (stores like Lowe’s, Home Depot, or Orchard Supply Hardware) in Westlake


Home Depot in particular has been having a problem with organized retail crime in LA, as reports of shoplifting in the city have risen steadily from Jan. 1, 2010 and Dec. 31, 2018.


The data also showed that the drunk employee was homeless and over the age of 60. This is the second incident of attempted theft from a dishonest employee in 2019, with only 10 reported incidents in total since 2010.


? At 6:45 p.m. on Aug. 21, A 53-year-old Hispanic female was attacked and robbed by a stranger in Green Meadows. The victim was described as being a food/catering truck operator. 


Green Meadows has an abundance of highly-rated food trucks, according to Yelp. But food truck operators are not frequently targeted, as this is only the fifth incident in 2019 where the victim was described as a food/catering truck operator. There have been only 95 incidents since 2010.


Food/catering truck operators are most frequently targeted in Boyle Heights and Koreatown, with 10 and 9 incidents since 2010, respectively. 


But regardless of what neighborhood you’re in, it’s important to be kind to the people serving you food. You never know what they could do to your order.