Melrose Action Neighborhood Watch Meeting Yields New Information, Updates To Recent Crimes, New Concerns

Melrose Action Neighborhood Watch held it’s September Meeting on Crime at Poinsettia Park Wednesday evening. About 75 neighbors attended. Guests included our L.A.P.D. Captain Anthony Oddo, L.A.P.D. Burglary Detective Joe Alvez, a Sergeant from the West Hollywood Sheriff’s Station, L.A.P.D. Wilshire Community Relations Sergeant A.J. Kirby, L.A. Council member Paul Koretz’ field deputy Robert Oliver, Executive Director of the Melrose Business Improvement District Don Duckworth, and Security Specialists security consultant Dan Kaufmann. Our Senior Lead Officer Inga Wecker could not attend due to a previous commitment.

Here’s what was discussed —

The Shooting at Sierra Bonita/Melrose

– L.A.P.D. Wilshire Captain Oddo spoke about the recent murder at Sierra Bonita and Melrose. He said that detectives are hard at work on the case – following leads, he said a detective from their Vice Unit was on the scene in seconds upon hearing the exchange of gunfire,  the victim was a known “Rolling 60’s” gang member, he seemed to express confidence the perpetrator(s) would be apprehended but stopped short of saying much more.  Also it was made clear that the incident did not involve any neighbor, merchant, nor was it random in nature. What connected the victim to the shooting suspect, he said, was still not established.

The Sexual Assault Case on 400 Blk of Ogden Dr

— Captain Oddo shared new information that certain evidence from the crime may, may be able to be tied to a suspect in another crime outside of the area and that details were being worked on by detectives and there’s hope for a solid connection to be made to that individual.

Robberies Involving Stabbings – Two or Three on Willoughby Ave And Possibly Others

— A number of neighbors at the meeting were very concerned about three recent robberies specifically on the 7300 blk of Willoughby Ave, one robbery just occurring on 9/2/2017 at 3:00 a.m., the two others on 8/24 when a stabbing occurred. The Captain said that there were active operations occurring in the area and that the stabbings were especially troublesome in that even after the perpetrators demanded and received property from the victims they still slashed or stabbed them.

Neighbors from the 600 blk of Vista St expressed serious concerns about nefarious “characters” frequenting that block and specifically the alley ways between Gardner and Martel — some fearing that strange “transactions” were occurring in the alleyways between vehicles and people on foot or bicycles.  They were frustrated and asked that attention from L.A.P.D. be put on the area.  The Captain said he would relay information to appropriate detectives to follow up on those concerns. Merchants on the north side of Melrose also say that unusual behavior has been observed in alley ways north of Melrose — also between Gardner and Martel.  It should be noted that the corner of Vista St and Melrose has seen a disproportionate amount of crime in recent weeks — noting numerous robberies, some starting out as thefts that were elevated to robberies.

Some merchants in attendance were hoping to hear that more resources would be headed to the Melrose Business district in terms of foot beat patrols etc after hearing that assets within the L.A.P.D. were being shifted to put more officers on the streets.

A neighbor asked the Captain about when is the use of a firearm on your property is legal and where on the property does your property become private and where is it public.  This is complicated issue and we do not want to misquote the law here so please research this with our law enforcement officials for detailed clarity.

Assault At 7/11 Santa Monica Blvd at Hayworth Ave Involving Man Using an Ax

A Sergeant from the West Hollywood Sheriff’s Station shared that the suspect in the ax attack that occurred on 9/2 at 4 a.m. at a 7/11 store at Santa Monica Blvd at Hayworth Ave (See video of the attack by clicking or tapping here) had been apprehended on 9/5  in public on Fairfax Ave near Santa Monica Blvd.  LASDWH officials tell Melrose Action that the suspect is a known transient that frequented the area of West Hollywood, Melrose, and Hollywood areas.  The victim is in serious condition with multiple wounds, serious head trauma…

Poinsettia Park

Neighbors living either adjacent or near the park report they see a rise in the transient population again, what they see as a rise of nefarious persons frequenting the park, they fear drug and other transactions are back, a lack of enforcement of the laws that govern camping, loitering, etc.  Neighbors asked for the Park Director but he was not present.

Home Burglaries

L.A.P.D. Wilshire Burglary Detective Joe Alvez shared information about home burglaries in and around the area. He highlighted that nearly 45% involved burglars gaining access to homes through open or unlocked windows and doors. The obvious is keep your doors and windows locked.  He emphasized that ignoring knocks at the door aren’t always a good idea as criminals use this tactic to see if anyone is home or not.  He did recommend home security devices that are on the market that act as a doorbell that can record video of visitors to your door. He also shared information from his counterpart – an Auto Detective at Wilshire Station that said if you own a late model Honda vehicle 2015 or later — they have seen a spike in break-ins seeking to obtain valuable airbags.

Melrose BID Update

The executive director of the Melrose Business Improvement District Don Duckworth briefly shared that the Melrose BID does listen to the concerns of the neighborhood and is actively working to continue to improve the Melrose Business District incrementally. The BID covers Melrose from Fairfax to Highland Avenue.  Mr. Duckworth said the BID is committed to public safety and employs a security ambassador on bicycle.

Melrose Action Agrees To Promote Partnership With Private Security Firm That Will Offer Private Security Services To Area

Neighbor Danielle Schenker from the Beverly Grove area has started recruiting neighbors for a private security patrol program in that area.  So far they’ve signed up 80 neighbors at a fee of around $50/month. =Security Specialists Dan Kaufmann spoke that while they are not a replacement for our invaluable L.A.P.D. Wilshire officers – his patrol cars and their security officers can be an additional deterrent to crime. Their service is NOT an alarm service but a patrol service. They do not offer home alarm monitoring per say.  They do however respond to your home if your home alarm is triggered for some reason. They are armed patrolmen. They also offer checks of your property as part of a monthly fee. Vacation checks are included in the fee.  They can monitor your home video security system as well. Since you need an alarm company — they would simply be added to your contact list by each homeowner that signs up.  They can also help save on false alarm fees.  The more neighbors that sign up for the service, the lower the monthly price for the private patrol will be.

We at Melrose Action think this service adds a layer of options that might help the crime situation in our particular area.  Of course this is not a replacement for the invaluable work that our L.A.P.D. officers do for us every day. But it’s no secret that their resources are limited all over the city.  Neighbors in the Melrose Village area as of today can start signing up for this service.  The monthly fee is around $50. We will be posting more information on this in the next day or so.

National Preparedness Month – Volunteer for CERT training

Neighbor Bob Abrahams spoke about the need for volunteers to join the CERT program for disaster preparedness.  Since its’ National Preparedness Month – it’s a great time to step up and get trained to help in case of a natural disaster!  Find out more here

In addition, a neighbor expressed frustration that a few blocks in the area north of Melrose Avenue and east of Sierra Bonita do not have access to the area’s permit parking program because some neighbors when the program was being considered lobbied to have some streets omitted from the new district recently created.  The neighbor was adamant that permit parking provides a deterrent to crime and suspicious vehicles parking in front of our homes and said he’s seeking to get some or all of those blocks re-included in the new parking district 132.

Another neighbor asked about instituting a block captain program or block contact for each block within our area. That program will be implemented and merged into the Melrose Action digital platform.

The meeting lasted a little over an hour. The next meeting is already scheduled for Wednesday October 18th at 7 p.m. at the Blu Jam Cafe.  Thank you to our volunteers Neil Loden, David Reed, and Ana Benko!  Follow up on crime concerns with our L.A.P.D. Senior Lead Officer Inga Wecker at (213)793-0708 or email her at eniln1519551987o.dpa1519551987l@0851519551987731519551987

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