The Detective: An abusive caregiver

A rundown of recent criminal activity in Los Angeles

illustration of old man


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, Catherine Orihuela. This period covers Nov. 30-Dec. 6, 2020. 


?  Not all caregivers are caring. On Dec. 5, according to the LAPD, an 80-year-old man was tied up by his caregiver at an adult care facility in the Sawtelle neighborhood. A police report said the suspect used rope or cord to restrain the elderly man; it is unclear what led to the incident. The code for “rope/cordage” as the type of binding has been used 83 times by the LAPD. This is the only reported incident in the last decade involving a caregiver restraining a client. 


?  The word “lynching” brings to mind a host of horrifying incidents from decades in the past. Unbeknownst to many, it is still listed in the Los Angeles Police Department crime manual, though with a different definition. A November Detective noted that the LAPD defines lynching as someone being removed by a mob from police custody. The department has used the code for lynching 55 times since 2010, with 10 of those incidents occurring this year. 


It came into play again in a report from Dec. 6. Police described an incident in Koreatown in which an unidentified suspect grabbed another person, who also was not identified, on the street. Few other details were available.


?  Los Angeles this year has experienced a disconcerting rise in hate crimes and hate incidents (defined by the LAPD as instances of abuse involving racial, gender or sexual-orientation bias, but that do not spark a formal crime report). It happened again on Dec. 1, when a 48-year-old Black man was the victim of a hate incident at a hotel in Beverly Grove. According to police, an unidentified suspect hurled racial slurs at the man. Since the LAPD made its data publicly available in 2010, the code for “Bias: Anti-Other Race/Ethnicity/Ancestry” has only been used 30 times. 


? On Nov. 30, police were called to Westlake to investigate a case of intimate partner violence between two people experiencing homelessness. According to a police report, the suspect—who identified as transgender—followed and struck the victim, a 31-year-old man who identified as bisexual. There are no details as to what caused the altercation. 


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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