The Detective: Another explosive device is discovered

A rundown of recent criminal activity in Los Angeles

Illustration of a bomb on a bench


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 Feb. 1-Feb. 7, 2021. 


?  Police responded to calls about a bomb threat in Wilmington on Feb. 2. Details are thin, but according to the LAPD, officers found an explosive device at the scene and arrested an unidentified individual. Since the LAPD made its data publicly available in 2010, there have been 186 reports of bomb possession in the city, 14 of which resulted in an incendiary device being found. The Wilmington incident came about two weeks after police responding to a call in Chinatown discovered a bomb aboard a train


?  A 30-year old man was the victim of a hate crime in Mid City. On Feb. 7, a person on the street was attacked with a sharp object by an unidentified individual. During the assault, the suspect hurled homophobic and other hate-related language at the victim. Both the victim and suspect were experiencing homelessness at the time of the incident. The code for crime related to “Bias: Anti-Lesbian/Gay/Bisexual or Transgender” has been used 22 times since January 2019. 


?  On Feb. 1, the Los Angeles Police Department recorded the highest daily number of batteries with sexual contact in almost six months. Police recorded eight different incidents across the city that day, with victims in neighborhoods including Koreatown, Hollywood, Boyle Heights and Los Feliz


The victims—all women between the ages of 22-54—were assaulted at various locations including a Metro platform, a department store, a dental office and on the sidewalk. According to police reports, some of the victims knew the suspect involved. Only one incident has resulted in an arrest. 


In recent weeks, the Detective has seen several criminal incidents involving acts of impersonation. Another one occurred in the Baldwin Hills/Crenshaw neighborhood on Feb. 7. According to police, a 39-year-old woman was approached and shoved by an individual who was claiming to be God. It is unclear what led to the altercation or if the woman sustained any injuries. Since 2010, the code for “suspect impersonates God” has been used 25 times. 


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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