The Detective: Animal cruelty and theft via hand-held radio

Anomalous crime reports Oct. 22 - 27, 2019

scared dog graphic

? Take care of your pets. At 4:10 p.m. on Oct. 26, an animal was mistreated on the 2300 block of Ocean Ave. in Venice


While there is no information on the nature of the mistreatment (or the type of animal), the crime was tagged with MO Code 0938, “Animal Neglect.” Animal neglect is not very common, as the last occurrence of the code in LAPD data was a year ago, October 2018, in a vehicle burglary.


In its 101 occurrences since Jan. 1, 2010, the majority of the crimes that use the code for animal neglect are labeled as “cruelty to animals.” But other reported crimes that used this code include vandalism, criminal threats, lewd telephone calls and document forgery. Make of that what you will.


?Suspect used handheld radio. At 5 p.m. on Oct. 27, a thief unlocked and ransacked a 34-year-old man’s car on the 3800 block of S. Vinton Ave. in Palms, and stole items worth $950 or less from it.


Car break-ins happen every day, but what makes this instance notable is that it was tagged with MO Code 0333: “Suspect used handheld radio.”


Handheld radios have been used in LAPD data only 36 times since 2010, almost all in instances of burglary or theft. Considering their common use in heist and spy movies (or in Back to the Future II), this number is surprisingly low. Since we’re no longer in the ‘90s, thieves these days probably just use their cellphones instead.


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.