The Detective: A Hollywood valet parking debacle

A rundown of recent criminal activity in Los Angeles

Illustration of the Hollywood sign


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 Sept. 27-Oct. 3, 2021. 


🔎 When parking is scarce, Angelenos will grudgingly shell out $25 to a valet. An incident in Hollywood Hills West proves that some may not get the security they expected. A 22-year-old’s car was parked by a valet near Sunset Boulevard on Oct. 1. When the individual returned to the vehicle, they found that someone had broken in and stolen unspecified property.


Since 2010, 122 crimes at valet lots have been recorded by the Los Angeles Police Department. According to publicly accessible crime data, this is the first incident to occur with a valet service in the neighborhood.


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🔎 Drive-through car washes have a tendency to leave soap streaks on the windshield. A patron at a car wash in North Hollywood on Oct. 3 experienced something much more troubling. Details are thin, but while at the business, the person reported shots being fired. No one was injured and there was no damage, according to the LAPD.


Car washes are a booming business in Los Angeles, and nearly 1,200 crimes have occurred at these locations since 2010. This is the second time police have reported someone discharging a firearm at a car wash. The last incident was in December 2020. 


🔎 People are used to large crowds and having trouble finding a parking spot when visiting a shopping mall. On Oct. 2, visitors to The Grove had something else to worry about: a bomb threat. The Fairfax shopping hub was on high alert after an individual threatened to use an explosive device to harm someone at the complex. Additional details were unavailable.


The LAPD has reported more than 1,300 bomb scares since 2010. So far in 2021, there have been 68 threats; 10 of those were recorded in September.  


🔎 Home security systems are intended to provide a sense of safety. Yet they are not infallible. On Sept. 27, a thief managed to disable a security system at a residence in Sherman Oaks. While it is unclear how the person did this, the unidentified individual proceeded to take a 70-year-old woman’s property, including some jewelry or clothing. 


LAPD data indicates that security systems are hard to crack. While there have been 74,965 burglaries at single-family dwellings since 2010, only four times has a system been taken down. 


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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