The Detective: The suspect pretended to be blind

A rundown of recent criminal activity in Los Angeles

Illustration of a cane and dark glasses


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, Taylor Mills. This period covers May 31-June 6, 2021. 


? On the afternoon of June 6, a team of Los Angeles Police Department officers arrived at a Canoga Park parking lot. Details about what brought them there are thin, but when they attempted to apprehend an unidentified individual, the person fought back. Ultimately four officers were knocked to the ground and the suspect ran off. 


While suspects often resist arrest in TV crime procedurals, the number of times it has been happening in Los Angeles is falling. So far in 2021, there have been 78 incidents of resisting arrest, according to Los Angeles Police Department data. That is down from the 102 reported during the same time period last year, and the 142 in the first five months of 2019.


? A disturbing incident took place on a street in Atwater Village on June 6 at around 3 a.m. A man experiencing homelessness was run over by a car. According to police, the driver also threatened the man’s life and brandished a gun. The driver has been arrested.


Crimes against people experiencing homelessness have been increasing in Los Angeles. So far this year the LAPD has recorded 2,225 crimes committed against people experiencing homelessless (some of them were perpetrated by people also experiencing homelessness), with 451 of those occurring in May. 


? There was a particularly unusual threat in Hollywood on May 31. A 51-year-old woman was outside the Loews hotel when she was approached by someone who appeared to be blind. At some point the assailant, who in fact could see, threatened to kill the woman. It is unclear what sparked the encounter.


This was only the third case recorded by the LAPD of an individual threatening someone while impersonating a blind person. The last time a similar incident happened was in November 2018.


? An unsettling altercation occurred at an apartment building in the Baldwin Hills/Crenshaw neighborhood on May 31. According to police, an unknown individual threatened to kill a 34-year-old man because of his physical disability. Few specifics have been released, but the suspect was identified as a juvenile.


There have only been eight incidents reported by the LAPD where a victim was targeted because of a physical disability, and three of those have occurred in 2021. Overall, hate crimes are on the rise in Los Angeles this year. 


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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