The Detective: risky delivery

Trouble for a costumed character, and a theft by trickery

Delivery boxes illustration


Here are a couple of recent anomalies in Los Angeles Police Department data found by the Detective, our data-crawling robot, and aggregated by the robot’s human assistant, Kylie Storm. This period covers August 24-30, 2020.


? Since the coronavirus pandemic began in March, delivery workers have increasingly found themselves in dangerous situations. A recent Crosstown story revealed that crimes against delivery workers increased by 75% in the first seven months of the year compared to the same time in 2019. Recently, the code “suspect impersonates delivery” showed up in a police report. On August 27, an unidentified person threw something at a delivery person in a parking lot in Encino. The suspect was also described as wearing a hat and using an unspecified weapon.


? Violations of restraining orders occur fairly frequently. In 2020, there have already been 1,835 such violations, according to Los Angeles Police Department data. One incident happened on August 24, but with a twist. A 34-year-old woman in the Broadway-Manchester neighborhood had a restraining order in place on her brother. The man arrived at a home, where, according to police, the victim was dressed as a costumed character. No details were provided as to the type of costume worn. The costumed character code has only been used nine times since the LAPD began making its data publicly available in 2010.


? On August 24, an 18-year-old man in the Fairfax neighborhood was the victim of a petty theft. The incident was described by police as theft by trickery or device. Few details were provided, but the LAPD did say that the suspect was carrying “sensitive event schedules.” It is unclear what made the event or the schedule sensitive.


? Operating a catering truck during a pandemic is not an easy way to make a living. It became even more difficult recently for a 57-year-old man in Tarzana. On August 26, an unidentified individual stole unspecified property from the vehicle. The victim was described as a “catering truck operator,” marking the 104th time a catering truck operator was the target of theft, according to the LAPD.


How we did it: At Crosstown, we examine publicly available crime 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.


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