The Detective: A robbery at a library

A rundown of recent criminal activity in Los Angeles

Image of handcuffs


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, Cari Spencer. This period covers Nov. 8-14, 2021. 


🔎 Usually, the most significant offense one commits at a library is having an overdue book (and Los Angeles Public Library branches no longer charge late fees). The situation was much more serious at a West Adams library on Nov. 8. According to the Los Angeles Police Department, an 18-year-old woman was forcibly robbed at around 11 a.m. The victim, who was experiencing homelessness at the time, had previously been in a relationship with the assailant. 


This marks the second robbery this year at a Los Angeles library, according to publicly accessible LAPD data. Since 2010, there have been 34 robberies at libraries in the city. Some other incidents are more common, and according to LAPD data there have been 990 petty theft reports in the last decade. 


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🔎 Nursing homes are generally considered quiet, relaxing places. That was not the case at a Northridge institution on Nov. 8. At around 3:30 p.m., police responded to a report of vandalism at the facility. A car window had been broken. According to the LAPD, the suspect knew the victim.


Nursing and retirement homes are the site of more crime than people might realize—police generally respond to about 200-300 calls each year. According to LAPD data, there have been 127 instances of vandalism at these facilities since 2010. In 59 cases there was more than $400 in damage, making the crime a felony. 


🔎 Los Angeles sees all manner of weapons. That includes the rare instance where a rope is used. On Nov. 8 at 6:45 p.m., police responded to a call about a 58-year-old man in Boyle Heights who had been attacked. Details are thin, but according to the LAPD, he was struck by someone brandishing a rope. It is unclear what precipitated the incident. 


This marks the seventh instance of a rope or ligature being used as a weapon this year. Since 2010, this has happened 98 times. The most common place where a rope has been utilized as a weapon is in an apartment building.


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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