The Detective: Another bad week for car crimes

A rundown of recent criminal activity in Los Angeles

Illustration of car with broken window


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 19-25, 2021. 


? A group of tourists got a not-so-friendly welcome to the city on April 20. According to the Los Angeles Police Department, the visitors were driving in the Westside neighborhood of Del Rey when someone fired shots at their car. Police classified the incident as gang-related. No arrest has been made. Since 2010, the crime code for “shots fired at a moving vehicle, train or aircraft” has been used 431 times. The shooting on April 20 is the first reported use of the crime code with tourists identified as the victims. 


? The community of Palms recorded 12 criminal incidents on April 22, its single highest day for crime since December. More than half of the reports involved vehicles. According to the LAPD, these included seven car break-ins, one stolen vehicle and one attempted car theft. In the reports involving break-ins, suspects smashed, unlocked or used force to gain entry into the vehicles. Four of the break-ins happened between the 3500 and 3700 block of Jasmine Avenue. 


? The Detective flagged a report of an attempted theft involving a bomb in Winnetka on April 22. According to police, the incident happened on the sidewalk on the 19700 block of Vanowen Street. Further details about the suspect, the type of explosive device and its connection to the attempted theft were unavailable. The code for “crime related to bomb/explosive device” has been used 19 times since 2010. This is the first reported use of the code in an attempted theft. 


? There has been yet another hate crime in Los Angeles. On April 25, a 33-year-old woman was approached by a neighbor who punched and hit her with a weapon at an apartment building in the community of Baldwin Hills/Crenshaw. It is unclear what led to the assault, but police classified it as an anti-female and anti-transgender incident, among other categories. The LAPD code for “Bias: Anti-female” has been employed 10 times in the last three years. 


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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