The Detective: Another neighborhood sees a surge in car thefts

A rundown of recent criminal activity in Los Angeles

illustration of car theft


Here are some 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 Jan. 25-Jan. 31, 2021. 


?  The community of Hyde Park reached a sobering milestone on Jan. 28: the single-highest daily count of reported gun crimes in more than a decade. According to the Los Angeles Police Department, there were 12 incidents involving handguns and other firearms, the highest total in the community since the LAPD began making its data publicly available in 2010. The incidents included shots fired at homes and aggravated assault, and one interaction was classified as road rage. Few details about the suspects were provided. According to police, the youngest victim was a 3-year-old girl, but it is unclear if she suffered any injuries. This comes as 2020 has gotten off to an exceedingly violent start; the 39 homicides in January marked a 34% spike over the same month last year.


?  The Hyde Park tally is not the only distressing crime-related figure in Los Angeles. On Jan. 30, the LAPD recorded 11 incidents of battery against a police officer, the highest daily total since last July. The incidents occurred at various locations including apartment buildings, on streets and at detention facilities. The officers involved were hit with weapons, spit on or kicked; according to police reports, several suspects were experiencing homelessness. Only four of the incidents resulted in an arrest. 


?  The Detective has flagged yet another surge in daily car thefts. On Jan. 31, police reports detailed five cars stolen from a parking lot on the 1000 block of S. Vermont Ave. in the Pico Union neighborhood. Only one of the incidents has resulted in an arrest. 


Prior to Jan. 31, there had been just three other reported car thefts on the block, the most recent in 2012. Yet similar spikes have been occurring recently; on Jan. 8, the LAPD reported that five cars were stolen on a block in North Hollywood.


Hate crimes rose in Los Angeles last year, and the situation is continuing in 2021. On Jan. 29, police responded to a mosque in Koreatown following a report of vandalism. The type of damage to the building was not revealed. The code for crime related to “Bias: Anti-Islamic (Muslim)” has been used six times since January 2018. 


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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