The Detective: Anti-Eastern Orthodox

Anomalous crime reports Sept. 17 - 21, 2019
Hate Crime

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.


? Teachers are heroes who need to be paid more. Except when they are crime suspects.


At 5:30 p.m. on Sept. 17, a 15-year-old male was assaulted at a high school. The high school was on the 1200 block on Bishops Rd. in Chinatown, which is likely Cathedral High School at 1253 Bishops Rd. The victim was hit by a suspect he knew, but the publicly available LAPD data describe the case as simple assault, which means there were no serious injuries.


What makes this case significant, though, is the use of MO Code 1024: Suspect offers or solicits teaching. This seems to indicate that the victim may have been assaulted by a teacher or tutor.


Suspects don’t often offer teaching; MO Code 1024 has been used only seven times since 2010, and the last time it was used was in 2016 in a case of petty theft. 


Crimes in high schools are more frequent, with 85 reported crimes just last month. The most common crimes in high schools by far are theft and battery, with 3,990 and 2,903 cases since 2010, respectively.


? At 12:48 a.m. on Sept. 19, a church on the 9500 block of Balboa Blvd. in Northridge was vandalized with Anti-Eastern Orthodox graffiti. The church was likely the Saint Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church, as this is the only Eastern Orthodox church on Balboa Blvd.


The graffiti incident was labeled a hate crime and specifically targeted the Eastern Orthodox religion, the LAPD data showed, making this the first time MO code 1524, “Bias: Anti-Eastern Orthodox (Russian/Greek/Other),” has ever been used by the LAPD.


The LAPD only started using bias codes this year, as a way to track instances of hatred or prejudice. There were 220 reports of hate crimes in the first eight months of 2019, none of which targeted people of the Eastern Orthodox religion.

If you’re interested in seeing how hate crimes show up in the City of Los Angeles, we track hate crimes here at Crosstown.