The Detective: A sudden rise in trespassing calls

A rundown of recent criminal activity in Los Angeles

Illustration of a no trespassing sign



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 March 8-14, 2021. 


?  Here is an unlikely milestone: On March 9, the city of Los Angeles recorded its single-highest daily count of trespassing calls since June 2015. According to the Los Angeles Police Department, there were 21 incidents reported that day. The majority of the calls occurred at houses and apartment buildings, with the occasional report from a gas station, restaurant or church. The police reports state that almost half of the incidents on March 9 involved a suspect who was experiencing homelessness at the time. 


?  The Detective has found a unique case of identity theft. A man in Canoga Park reported his identity stolen on March 8, but according to the police, the 29-year-old victim was incarcerated at the time of the incident. Details are thin, but police reported an unauthorized use of the victim’s credit card and bank account information. No arrest has been made. 


Since the LAPD made its data publicly available in 2010, the code for “victim was an inmate/incarcerated” has only been used nine times for crimes related to identity theft. 


?  A 24-year-old man was the victim of a violent robbery and car-jacking on March 9. An unidentified individual forced their way into the victim’s vehicle on a residential street in the neighborhood of Florence, pulled out a gun and demanded money. According to the LAPD, the suspect forced the man to withdraw his savings. Before fleeing the scene, the suspect blindfolded the man. 


The code for “suspect got victim to withdraw savings” has been used 194 times since 2010. There were five similar incidents in Florence within the last decade. 


?  The Detective flagged a pair of assaults that identified the suspects as foster children. On March 8, a 42-year-old woman was attacked in her home in Vermont Knolls. According to police, the suspect, a juvenile, hit the woman with an unidentified weapon and was arrested. The code for “victim was foster parent” has been used 21 times since 2016. 


On March 13, police responded to calls about an assault at a group home in Mission Hills. According to the LAPD, a 31-year-old man was attacked and spit on by the suspect, who was also identified as a juvenile. No arrest was made. The code for “suspect was foster child” has been used 27 times since 2010.


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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