Neighborhood Watch Report for Combined Foothills Area Meeting of 6/19/18

by Jon Von Gunten

The group convened at its customary 6:00 PM on the third Tuesday. Tujunga’s Senior Lead Officer Gloria Caloca ran the meeting of 26 Sunland-Tujunga and Shadow Hills residents.

PROPERTY CRIME continues as our biggest problem! Home security is a MUST! Police are uncertain if one or several crews are involved. Wanted posters are up on another matter that MAY be the same person. Crims now wear masks and hoodies, but videos of them can be somewhat useful if the apparel is spotted later.

If you or family leave anything of value visible in vehicles, you expose yourself to double damages: Theft *and* vandalism to your vehicle to gain entry!

CRIME VICTIMS NOW RECEIVE VALUABLE “VAP” ASSISTANCE! Foothill Division’s new Victims Advocate, Bianca Monteón, introduced us to LA’s Victims Assistance Program (VAP). VAP helps crime victims and their families with financial restitution, medical, emotional and funeral costs, legal advice and protection. Each LAPD Division now has a VAP advocate.

VAP involvement often follows severe violence or robbery. See the program or request help at www.HelpLACrimeVictims.org. Reach Bianca at 818-834-3104 or BiancaMonteon@lacity.org. She’s eager to help!

WHEN TO CALL YOUR SLO…and NOT! For specific events in progress, call 911 or LAPD Dispatch (1-877-ASK-LAPD). When it’s borderline, call 911! Either way, you’re calling a Team! Your SLO is one person who may be off duty, in training or meetings, on special duty or an event, in court, or even—OMG!—home with family!

DO involve your SLO when problems are ongoing and calls to LAPD have not remedied.

To put more officers on the street, Foothill’s front desk is no longer 24/7. It’s closed from 11:00PM to 7:00AM. Its outside phone auto-calls 911.

The MyLA311 app has a ton of services. Use our own Foothill LAPD app.

STREET & PARK LIGHTING Foothill’s Neighborhood Prosecutor Mark Ross and Senior Lead Caloca did a ride-along to report areas of lousy lighting that encourage nighttime crowds. Kids “harmlessly” drinking in dark parks attract more and more people until the crowd plus alcohol emboldens someone to commit a crime.

Per Eve Sinclair, CD-7 Deputy, Sunland Park and the McGroarty area will soon get more lighting! Some poles don’t even have lights. A few residents object to light pollution, but most support lights’ anti-crime benefits. Eve saw and reported 14(!) light poles whose bases had been vandalized, probably an attempt to steal copper wiring or power. A resident pointed out we should beware of unswept piles of pine needles in parks as they may hide hypodermic needles.

A STREET-RACER TASK FORCE is being formed. Residents from several areas complained about racing. IF YOU SAFELY CAN, video or write down license plates. Racers’ cars may be impounded or stripped of expensive speed equipment. LAPD has door-knocked the addresses of racers from their plates and DMV records, often with good results. One resident’s drone was successful in intimidating street racers and residential fireworks.

Officer Caloca addressed the myth of LAPD having “ticket quotas.” She has no quota and gets no management input for days of high or low ticketing. Speeders cross all ethnic lines. Although youth seems a contributing factor, one resident earlier reported seeing a succession of white-haired grannies blowing through her stop sign. So much for all those comfortable generalities.

REPORT TAGGING immediately! Recent tags promote TVR and TVok gangs. We have to squish their recruiting and PR efforts. Local response from Graffiti Busters or residents is usually FAST! Tagging can be a felony if damage exceeds $900. S-T is getting more and more LAPD attention, greater than higher-crime areas in Pacoima, who don’t speak up as often as we do! (!YaY! for us!)

IN-N-OUT: Customers waiting for In-N-Out’s obviously tasty menu items often spill onto Foothill’s right lane. When more cars arrive, they stack up in the S/B right lane of Lowell, thus bollixing up traffic on two streets. Mark Ross is involved because ownership of that intersection divides very oddly between Glendale and LA. Demarcations even on Mark’s and Eve’s maps differed! Unless I&O takes active steps, no solution will be 100%.

STREET SLEEPERS LAMC 85.02, regulating “Vehicle Dwelling,” expires on 1 July unless renewed. As officers must cite a person, not a vehicle, for that infraction, occupants often don’t answer LAPD’s knock. One large and sumptuous motor home took up an extended stay on Apperson near Newhome.

Our Councilwoman Monica Rodriguez is arranging an overnight vehicle sleeping site away from the Foothills area. City is very mindful these must be done right the first try, else initial problems burn bridges with local residents that may never be rebuilt.

MORNING Neighborhood Watch meetings will NOT occur on the usual first Tuesday and Wednesday due to the holiday. Perhaps they’ll be rescheduled for another morning if necessary. Come to the regular EVENING N/W meeting at 6 PM, NVCH, 11 July. Be there to say thanks, share trouble spots, and offer LAPD your ideas for improvements.

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