The Detective: The gun looked real

A rundown of recent criminal activity in Los Angeles

Illustration of a replica gun


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 June 7-13, 2021. 


🔎 The Los Angeles Police Department doesn’t often deal with homeland security threats, but an incident involving an 8-year-old girl on June 9 was different. At around 1:40 a.m., the girl was taken from her home in Leimert Park by an individual she knew. The person was arrested. Details on how the case was related to homeland security were not revealed, but this marks the fifth kidnapping case recorded by the LAPD with such a label.


In 2021 there have been 96 kidnappings reported across the city, according to LAPD data. The June 9 incident is the first one in Leimert Park.


🔎 Replica firearms are not deadly weapons, but they can still cause alarm. That is precisely what happened in a Canoga Park apartment complex on June 13, when an individual pointed a faux weapon at a 50-year-old neighbor. It is unclear what led to the confrontation.


The sale and display of imitation firearms that can be confused for real weapons are illegal in California. Only 36 cases of replica firearm crimes have been recorded in Los Angeles since the LAPD began making its data publicly available in 2010.


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🔎 Burglars often impersonate inspectors, meter readers or other service professionals in the effort to to gain access to a victim’s home. On June 7, a would-be thief in Valley Glen chose a different storyline to act out. At around 5 p.m., a 36-year-old woman was approached by a man in her yard claiming he was looking for someone. The suspect managed to get beyond the gate, but nothing was taken from the home.


There have been 28 reports of a suspect claiming to look for someone since 2010. This is the third incident so far in 2021, with the previous most recent one occurring in North Hollywood in March.


🔎 Angelenos have to shield their pets from the heat during the summer. Sometimes they have to do a little more to keep their beloved animals safe. On June 10, an individual hurt a family pet in Sherman Oaks. According to the LAPD, the suspect was a juvenile and the crime was motivated by an occult following. This is the third time the Detective has flagged animal cruelty related to rituals or the occult 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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