The Detective: Foster child is the suspect

Anomalous crime reports Oct. 14 - 21, 2019


Here are a couple of recent anomalies in LAPD data found by the Detective, our data-crawling robot, and aggregated by the robot’s human assistant, Kate Lý Johnston.


? There are over 55,000 children in foster care in California, but these kids are not common perpetrators of crimes. In fact, foster children who are also suspects are actually pretty rare.


At 7 a.m. on Oct. 17, a foster child assaulted their foster parent in their home on the 1600 block of W. 35th Pl. in Exposition Park. The foster child, who was a student, kicked and punched their foster parent, a 52-year-old black female. 


This is only the second time this year a foster child has been the suspect of a crime, and the MO Codes for “Victim was a Foster Parent” and “Suspect was a Foster Child” have been used together only six other times in LAPD data since 2010. 


Out of the seven total cases, there have been four assaults, two vandalisms and one theft. Only one case, one of vandalism, was noted as taking place in a designated foster home.


? Committing a crime while on parole is a risky move, though it can be riskier for some than others.


At 10:50 p.m. on Oct. 20, a suspect who was experiencing homelessness threw an unknown object at a male police officer. The incident took place on public transit near the intersection of Spring St. and 7th St. in Downtown.


The suspect was noted as being under non-revocable parole (NRP), which has been noted only three times in LAPD data since 2010. 


Implemented in 2010, the California Penal Code describes NRP as the removal of “low level offenders from parole supervision,” allowing officers to focus on only “the most serious and violent parolees.” Parolees on NRP can still be arrested for committing crimes but cannot be detained or sent to prison for violating the rules of parole.


It’s not clear whether this particular suspect was arrested for assaulting a police officer or not, but at least they can’t have their parole revoked.


How we did it: 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 publicly available 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.