The Detective: A fake repairman hits a trailer park

A rundown of recent criminal activity in Los Angeles

Illustration of tools for crimes June 28–July 4, 2021

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 28–July 4, 2021.


🔎 The July 4 holiday was unusually dangerous in Los Angeles this year. According to publicly available data from the LAPD, over the three-day holiday weekend there were 80 incidents of shots fired. That is a 33% boost over this year’s weekly average of 60 cases. 


One of the incidents occurred on the holiday itself. A 25-year-old woman walked out of a bar in Downtown. She was shot in the parking lot, as she approached her car. It is unclear what led to the incident or if the suspect was captured. Over the weekend in Los Angeles, the LAPD recorded at least a dozen murders, and four more homicides were tallied by the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department.


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🔎 Change can be hard to come by during a coin shortage, and thieves are taking advantage of this to dupe victims. There were two recent incidents in Downtown in which an individual asked for change as part of a ruse. On June 28, a 38-year-old woman had her necklace snatched while fishing for coins in her purse. On July 3, a 74-year-old man was approached for change, then had unspecified items taken from his car.


This brings to six the number of incidents in 2021 in which a person solicits change as a pretense for committing a crime. 


🔎 A disturbing altercation occurred at a mobile home in Winnetka. On July 4, an individual posing as a repairman made it onto the property of a 19-year-old. Details are thin, but the situation escalated and the faux repairman swung a knife at the man. 


Since 2010 in Los Angeles there have been only 70 cases of criminals offering or soliciting a repair. Crimes at mobile home sites in Los Angeles are also rare, with fewer than 2,000 reported in the past 11 years.


🔎 Closing up a business can be difficult when it is late. Recently in Florence, that experience also turned dangerous. A 42-year-old woman was finishing her shift at a cell phone store when she was suddenly confronted in the shop by a robber carrying a gun. The thief ordered her to lay down in a back room. He proceeded to take unspecified merchandise from the showroom. 


The month of June was the most active one for robberies this year, with 572 reported. Since 2010, there have been 143 cases of robbers targeting a store at closing time, including three logged 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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