A note from LAPD Senior Lead OFFICER Maria Gray: Traffic Accident Scams

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OFFICER Maria Gray
Senior Lead Officer for Basic Car 8A13, BrentwoodArea
Los Angeles Police Department
West Los Angeles Division
(310) 444-0744
30469@LAPD.ONLINE
www.crimemapping.com

June 6, 2018

Traffic Accident Scams

During our weekly Crime Control Meeting, it was revealed that detectives believe there may a crew ofscam artists targeting drivers throughout not only the Brentwood vicinity, but also, the entire West LA area, if not the entire City.

It happens like this… an unsuspecting driver leaves a parking lot after shopping at a commercial establishment (most recently, a shopper leaving the Ralph’s market at Bundy and Wilshire was targeted but thankfully, she did not fall for the scam). After a minute or so, the suspect’s car will drive up behind them or pull alongside them and begin honking frantically and yelling for the victim to pull over. When the victim does, the suspect then approaches the victim usually while the bewildered victim is still sitting in their parked car. The suspect then insists that the victim just hit their car in and claims that the victim is now trying to leave the site of the traffic accident, essentially, accusing the victim of a Hit & Run.

The suspect typically will use flailing arms and loud accusations intimidating the victim and claiming that he’s going to call the police. This intimidation serves to get the victim to ultimately comply with his demand for money to ‘cover the deductible’. There may even be a bit of paint transfer as part of the scam to further convince the victim that they unwittingly hit the suspect’s car. Or, while the victim is dealing with the suspect’s accusations, a second suspect will come up alongside the passenger side of the victim’s car and remove their purse from the front seat. This is actually an old modus operandi in which they often, but not always, target elderly or lone drivers.

At the time of this note,there is no suspect/vehicle description to share. A couple of the incidents involved lone Males,either of White or Hispanic or Middle Eastern decent. The car descriptions have been variable.

If you suspect that you are being followed or if you find yourself being directed to pull over by a total stranger, please take a deep breath and continue to drive to a well-lit location: ideally, a police station, or a gas station, populated strip mall, or any well-lit, busy, location where there will be many eyes. Do not drive to your home. If or when you do decide to stop make sure your doors are locked (you should always drive with your doors locked anyways) and have your phone in your hand ready to push 911. And don’t worry about their accusation of‘Hit & Run’… If you can articulate that you were seeking to find a safe place to pull over, it will likely be considered as reasonable and understandable to police. In fact, ifyou believe that you’re dealing with one of these scammers, calmly tell the suspect that you are calling police, and then do so. This may make themscadaddle and leave you alone. Let them go, but try to be a good witness while you wait for police to arrive: physical description,license plate, vehicle description, etc. Thank you.

All the best,

Maria

A note from… Officer Maria Gray: Recent burglaries in Brentwoo

A note from…
OFFICER Maria Gray
Senior Lead Officer for Basic Car 8A13, BrentwoodArea
Los Angeles Police Department
West Los Angeles Division
(310) 444-0744
30469@LAPD.ONLINE,
www.crimemapping.com
May 30, 2018

Detectives know from experience that crime tends to rise during the warmer, summer months. Burglary detectives specifically, also know this to be true, as do the burglars who make their living by stealing your stuff. But more importantly, do YOU know this? Have you prepared for this fact of life in Los Angeles?
Folks tend to leave their homes for extended getaways and vacations during this season. The other factor is that residential windows are more often left open and/or unsecured due to the heat. We have experienced a sharp and notable spike of burglaries (four in the last few days) within the Brentwood area bordered by Saltair Ave on the east, Mandeville Canyon on the West, Sunset Blvd on the South and Hanley Ave on the North. Specifically (and rounded to the nearest 100 block for the sake of privacy) they have occurred at:
· 5/24/18, 800block of Hanley
· 5/26/18, 200block of N. Saltiar
· 5/29/18, 800block of Hanley
· 5/29/18, 700block of Kenter
· 5/29/18, 1000block of Hanley
In some cases, the burglars accessed the homes through side or rear kitchen windows—windows that were either left open/unsecured or were pried/forced open. Detectives have also mentioned to me that in some cases, the homes were quite concealed by high fences and landscaping. While this affords people privacy, it also allows for burglars to walk comfortably around your property without being seen from the street or by neighbors (please consider making environmental design changes to remedy this). At present time, there is no suspect or vehicle description that I can share with the community. If things change, I will send out a supplemental notification. Property taken has been jewelry, watches and cash.
For those of you who have already heard these suggestions, please excuse the redundancy, but at present,one of the best tools to protect your home today is a system of instant notification . You want a system that has your smart phone alert you immediately when someone is at your front door, AND alerts you when they are along either side of your home,AND alerts you when they are to the rear of your home. Nothing less will suffice, in my opinion (and the opinion of many of my fellow officers). The traditional home alarm systems can be a very low priority in terms of police response, but if you call 911 and tell the operator that you see someone in your backyard right now, and here’s their description and here’s what they’re doing, the priority gets bumped up to a lights and sirens scenario and the likelihood of the thief or thieves getting caught or deterred goes up considerably. So does the likelihood that you’ll retain your possessions.
These systems are relatively inexpensive, easy to install with either rechargeable batteries or hardwired or even solar options. To see examples of these systems in action, go to www.youtube.com and search ‘Ring Video Doorbell’ Helps Bust Gang Member in Home and just scroll from there.
Please monitor the criminal activity in your neighborhood via www.crimemapping.com . Through this website, you can receive email alerts as to what’s going on in the radius and time frame you choose.
Feel free to contact me should you have any questions or concerns.
Maria

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Do you have RING? be sure to take a trip through Ring Neighborhoods

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RING APP
Anyone can download the Ring app for free and receive theft/security alerts which are posted by neighbors with Ring doorbells.
Once you’ve installed your Ring app and set up your Ring device, be sure to take a trip through Ring Neighborhoods.
Click to download the RING app

From LAPD Senior Lead Officer Maria Gray: Brentwood is Easy Target for Auto Burglars

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From SLO Maria Gray:
During a recent deep cleaning of our Community Relations Office, the cleaning crew inadvertently severed my phone line and broke the phone jack. I’ve created a ‘work order’ for a replacement but in the meantime, my phone is out of order. Please email me if you have questions or concerns at 30469@lapd.online Or the main office number for our Community Relations Office is 310-444-0735. I’ll send out another notice when the repair is made… Thanks for your patience!!

EMERGENCY: 911
NON-EMERGENCY: 1-877-275-5273
All other City Services : 311

Maria Gray
Senior Lead Officer
West Los Angeles Community Police Station
Office: 310-444-0744
Email: 30469@lapd.lacity.org
Website: www.lapdonline.org

From BHA mailing
Brentwood is Easy Target for Auto Burglars

A group of teenagers who regularly visited Brentwood to engage in car theft have been arrested. They stole expensive cars, such as Teslas, Mercedes, BMW etc, which they drive around town, trying to find chop shops. Owners leave cars unlocked, and often with their FOB on the console inside. As teenagers, they are subject to catch and release treatment. When asked why steal cars in Brentwood, their response, “because it’s so easy.”
So please, lock your cars, even if you are running inside for a second!

The city plans to allocate more officers, mainly for South Brentwood where burglaries are higher.
BCC minutes

According to Lead Officer Maria Gray, “each success these thieves have provides them with the positive reinforcement that draws them back to our community.” The safest way to protect your car is to park it in your garage. If you can’t do that, purchasing a LoJack or other GPS device may help retrieve your car and deter future criminal activity. Please heed this advice BEFORE you become a victim and we will ALL be safer.

LA Police Dept. Sr. Lead Officer Maria Gray: UPDATE on Door Checking

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Senior Lead Officer Maria Gray provides additional information on avoiding becoming a victim of this crime.

A note from… OFFICER Maria Gray: “Door Checking”

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A note from…
OFFICER Maria Gray
Senior Lead Officer for Basic Car 8A13, Brentwood Area
Los Angeles Police Department
West Los Angeles Division
(310) 444-0744
30469@LAPD.ONLINE,
www.crimemapping.com

January 31, 2018

“Door Checking”
It was brought up today in our Crime Control meeting that several residential surveillance cameras located east of the 405 freeway have captured images of suspects conducting ‘Door Checking’ throughout the neighborhoods. This happens virtually everywhere unfortunately, and it’s worth a discussion to be aware of and to prevent becoming a victim.

‘Door Checking’ is simply a modus operandi of property crime suspects who walk up and down the street, mostly at night, pulling on car door handles to see if they were left unlocked to steal the car contents. If you see a suspect ‘checking’ car doors, that rises to the level as a ‘crime in progress’ (or about to be in progress) and is suitable for a 911 emergency call.

But a new added variable is that they are now expanding their door checking to include the residences. They’ll pull on a door handle of a car parked in the driveway and if unsuccessful, they go up to the house and pull on the residential door as well. If left unlocked, they enter but typically don’t go in very deep into the house—they are looking for purses or car keys on the entry table, or laptops on the coffee table, etc., that they can quickly grab and leave with. Our victims don’t even know they’ve been burglarized until after they wake up the next day. In one case, the alarm went off and woke the victims up who immediately checked their living room. When they didn’t notice that the victim’s purse was gone they went back to bed unknowing that the suspects had been in their home. Very unnerving, to say the least.

All this is even more reason to have instant notification type surveillance systems on the perimeter of your home that will alert you immediately to your Smart phone—which is typically kept at night by your bedside and accessible to you.

Lastly, if you are a victim of a theft/burglary of your MAC or other Apple device, please alert the officers taking the report whether you have a tracking device (find my I-phone) and if you’ve taken any steps to track your device. If you’re comfortable with it, you can have the officers include your Apple ID/password for the detectives to utilize. Although the suspects will try and wipe clean the device asap, sometimes the ‘tracks’ will serve toward obtaining a search warrant for detectives. All the best, Maria

Westside is getting more cops to patrol and police our neighborhoods!

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Dear Friends,
I’ve got some great news to share — the Westside is getting more cops to patrol and police our neighborhoods!
As part of an effort to enhance public safety, one year ago this week, I launched a major initiative to convince LAPD to refocus on neighborhood policing. That work has paid off: just this week, LAPD assigned 12 more officers to the 11th District — and more will be added over the next few months.
I am very grateful to Chief Charlie Beck for making these assignments, which will help make our neighborhoods safer, curtail crime, and improve response times. The new resources are already making a difference. LAPD tells me that the extra cops helped its Pacific Area bust a prolific car burglary ring this week.
For too long, fewer and fewer cops were assigned to patrol our neighborhoods, and far too many people were telling me that they rarely saw a patrol car in their neck of the woods. It was the result of a decades-long trend of de-emphasizing basic neighborhood policing in favor of specialized details and elite crime suppression units. Now, as my colleague Joe Buscaino and I proposed in our “Back to Basic Car” plan, the LAPD is moving officers from specialized details and into our neighborhoods, and hiring more civilians so well-trained and able-bodied officers can move from desk duty to neighborhood patrols and community policing.
This is an excellent example of the good that can come from neighbors working together to move Los Angeles forward, do good and get things done for our neighborhoods. Thank you to the hundreds of people who signed petitions in support of our “Back to Basic Car” program, and who joined us to call on LAPD to increase the presence of officers in our neighborhoods.
There is still work to be done, but I wanted to make sure to share this exciting new with you. Please send me a message at councilmember.bonin@lacity.org if you have any questions or if I can be of any assistance.
Regards,

MIKE BONIN
Councilmember, 11th District

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Senior Lead Officer Maria Gray: Tips for hiking LA trails

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Officer Gray provides tips for being safe when hiking on LA’s public trails.

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