The Detective: A bomb threat in an arcade

A rundown of unusual criminal activity in Los Angeles

Illustration of an arcade with a green awning


Crime in Los Angeles never ceases. But when it comes to lawbreaking, there is a much wider variety of incidents than many people realize, and some of them are quite curious. The Detective, our data-crawling robot, with help from human assistant Cari Spencer, looks for the anomalies. Here are a few of the incidents uncovered from May 30–June 12, 2022.


🔎 Arcades are literally about fun and games. Things took a more serious turn recently at a location in Playa Vista. Shortly before noon on June 8, a bomb threat was reported. Ultimately it was just a scare, and no one was injured. 


This year, the Los Angeles Police Department has recorded 74 bomb threats, according to publicly available data. The incident in Playa Vista marks only the second bomb threat at an arcade or game room since 2010. 


🔎 Hate crimes continue to rise in the city, state and country. While attacks on Black and Asian people have drawn significant attention, there are also occasional incidents motivated by religion. On June 7 at 7:30 p.m., a 33-year-old man was assaulted by a stranger at a drug store in Watts. According to police data, the suspect was motivated by both anti-Catholic and anti-Islamic hate, though specifics are unclear. 


Since 2018, when the LAPD began registering hate crimes motivated by religion, there have been 303 reports. This marks the first anti-Islamic hate crime in 2022. There have been 12 total incidents reported to the LAPD. Seven anti-Catholic crimes have been registered since 2020, with three of those occurring this year. 


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🔎 People trust that when you give your car to a parking valet, you will get everything back in the exact same condition. That was not the case recently in Downtown. According to the LAPD, a 32-year-old man reported that his ID was stolen at 1 a.m. on May 30. The crime was classified as petty theft from a motor vehicle. 


This year, there have been nine crimes reported at valet services. Five of those incidents occurred Downtown. Since 2010, 142 crimes have been reported at valet services, with 83% of them involving theft, robbery or burglary. 


🔎 A lot of crimes involve dishonesty. Many others include employees. An incident on June 8 encompassed both. According to the LAPD, a 55-year-old unhoused man had his credit card stolen at a house in Glassell Park. Details are slim, but police classified the early-morning incident as grand theft involving a dishonest employee. There was also an allegation of impersonation.


This marks the second time this year that a dishonest employee has been reported for committing grand theft. Both incidents occurred in Glassell Park, with the first taking place at a store. 


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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