The Detective: An unexpected encounter at an apartment building

A rundown of recent criminal activity in Los Angeles

Illustration of the exterior of an apartment building



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 April 5-April 11, 2021. 


? Road rage is not uncommon in auto-centric Los Angeles, but the identity of five victims in a recent incident comes as a surprise: They were riding bicycles. On April 9, the cyclists in Playa Del Rey somehow became engaged in an altercation with a motorist. According to the Los Angeles Police Department, at some point the driver got out of the car, pepper-sprayed the cyclists, then drove away. The cyclists were all between the ages of 23 and 27. No arrest has been made. There were 12 previous incidents involving cyclists attacked with pepper spray. 


? On April 7, two firefighters and two police officers responded to a call of an assault at an apartment building in Leimert Park. According to the LAPD, a 41-year-old woman had been pushed and hit by her son. When the public safety workers arrived, the man turned on them, spitting on and biting the officers, and also kicking the firefighters. No arrest was made. 


? Los Angeles, like the rest of the country, has been experiencing a disturbing rise in hate crimes. The unfortunate situation shows no sign of slowing. On April 10, three men and one woman between the ages of 20 and 29 were walking on a sidewalk in the heavily Jewish Fairfax district when someone drove up next to them and hurled anti-Semitic slurs. Someone in the car also issued a death threat before driving away. No arrest has been made. The code for “Bias: Anti-Jewish” has been used 176 times in the last two years.


That was not the only incident. The day before, a 70-year-old woman was attacked on a bus in Eagle Rock in what the LAPD is describing as an anti-Catholic hate crime. According to police, someone hit the woman with a weapon, knocked her to the ground and pulled her hair. Since the LAPD made its data publicly available in 2010, the code for “Bias: Anti-Catholic” has only been used twice, most recently last July. 


? The Detective flagged a shooting at an apartment building in Sun Valley on April 10. When police responded to calls of shots fired, they found that eight of the 10 victims were 18 or younger. During the incident, a 6-year-old boy was injured. Further information about the boy’s condition was unavailable. Police classified the shooting as gang-related.


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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