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Email Sent 2/3/15: Update: Significant Decrease in Burglaries and Vehicle Break-Ins in & around the AKT

Howdy, Abbot Kinney Triangle Neighbors—

We’re pleased to report good news from Pete Abskharon, Police Officer II, LAPD Community Relations Office:

  • “Wanted to give you an update for the folks in the area. There has been a significant decrease in burglaries and vehicle break ins in & around the AKT. The only hot prowl in the area was at the 1100 block of Cabrillo and that involved an unlocked door. I think the word has gotten out that the hot prowls are directly related to unlocked windows/doors.”
  • “Recently there has been a trend of construction site related burglaries (not in the AKT area but Pacific Division in general). If anyone is planning a large construction project please secure all equipment and have a temporary surveillance camera installed as a deterrent. As a reminder, please keep all property away from open windows/doors and remove anything of value from inside vehicles. Take care!”

So keep up the good work, y’all! Let’s not slack off with positive news.

We are a little behind in following up with block captain candidates about next steps, but we will be in touch shortly. The organizing committee is meeting next week and it’s one of our topics. We’ll also be targeting the next date and agenda for our next neighborhood meeting, likely every three to four months.

Our mailing list is now up to 197 recipients—how awesome is that?

We do have significant gaps in both sign-ups and block captain candidates on Cabrillo, Market, Windward, and Riviera, however, so please do spread the word to neighbors there.

Finally, we’ve just posted a Microsoft Word and PDF version of the Five Points of Contact document with all the Pacific Division LAPD contact information so that it’s easy to click on email addresses, etc.

All best,

Abbot Kinney Triangle Neighbors Association Organizing Committee

____________________________________________
Emergency contact information:

  • 911 for in-progress crimes and life-threatening emergencies
  • Police dispatch: (818) 734-2223
  • LAPD Pacific Division: (310) 482-6334
  • Senior Lead Officer Peggy Thusing: Mobile (310) 622-3968,25120@lapd.lacity.org
  • Abandoned Vehicles: 800-ABANDON (222-6366)
  • Graffiti Problems: 311
  • Councilman Mike Bonin’s office (council district 11): (310) 568-8772,mike.bonin@lacity.org
  • Cecilia Castillo, Mike Bonin’s CD11 Venice Deputy: cecilia.castillo@lacity.org

 

AKT Volunteers Need Your Help! Please Volunteer!

We who have founded the AKT Neighbor Association need your help. We’re just humble volunteers ourselves, contributing our time and money to get this important movement off the ground. 

Here’s how you can help:

  • Volunteer to be on the organizing committeeThere are five or six of us who have taken the initiative to start this group, discuss our initial goals, distribute fliers, and organize our website, email blasts and this first meeting. While we are all dedicated to the improvement of our neighborhood and will continue to work hard to keep our group going strong, we need help! With over 180 residents signed up and membership continuing to rise, we really need more people to join our organizing committee. This will be a smaller group that meets approximately once a month and shares the administrative and organizational duties that it will take to keep our momentum going strong and continue the AKT’s efforts.
  • Volunteer to be a block captain.
  • Contribute money and time. We don’t yet have a money contribution method but will organize that soon. The organizing committee has contributed the money for us to run the website, print out fliers, and buy refreshments and rent chairs for the meeting. We can’t do that forever Also, it takes a lot of work. We are all volunteers—please help us whenever you can!

Other ways to help:

To help in any way, or for questions, please email us.

Recap of Inaugural AKT Neighborhood Meeting: January 21, 2015

This is the newsletter we sent out on January 24, 2015.

Greetings AKT Neighbors!

Thanks to all who came out to Wednesday night’s meeting—we had 60 to 70 neighbors in attendance, which is GREAT for our first group meeting! Please find a brief recap below.

For those of you who couldn’t make it this time, we look forward to meeting you at the next one! Here’s what you missed:

  1. Introducing the AKT and the Organizing Committee

We kicked things off by introducing those in the organizing committee thus far. There are five or six of us who have taken the initiative to start this group, discuss our initial goals, distribute fliers, and organize our website, email blasts and this first meeting. While we are all dedicated to the improvement of our neighborhood and will continue to work hard to keep our group going strong, we need help! With over 180 residents signed up and membership continuing to rise, we really need more people to join our organizing committee. This will be a smaller group that meets approximately once a month and shares the administrative and organizational duties that it will take to keep our momentum going strong and continue the AKT’s efforts.

  • If you are interested in being part of the organizing committee and/or can offer any help, please email us and describe what you’re up for.

 

  1. Crime and Safety:

After the intros, we explained that our primary and most pressing focus is on crime and safety, particularly because we’ve been alarmed by the recent hot prowls—some 25 since July 1, 2014. There are, of course, a number of other issues important to our community (and this became apparent as attendees spoke up at the meeting). We definitely plan to use the AKT to address other concerns in the neighborhood, for example parking, traffic, and new development, as well as plan some community social events that will help us all get to know our neighbors better so we can all watch out for each other. Please be patient with us in this “getting started” phase—safety first, and then we promise we will get into everything else down the road.

 

  1. Block Captains and Neighborhood Safety Watches

One of the most important next steps is for us to organize dedicated block captains who will act as the main point of contact for their specific block. Thank you to those who have signed up already! While the goal is to have at least one per block, we need more volunteers!

  • Click here to learn more about being a block captain and about neighborhood safety watches.
  • Being a block captain basically means being a point of contact for your block—organizing contact information for your block, sharing your block’s concerns, and potentially attending quarterly block-captain meetings at the Pacific Division LAPD.
  • We also want to establish neighborhood safety watches and get official signs put up that will deter criminals. More on that soon.
  • If you are interested in being a block captain, or want to suggest a neighbor, please email us.

 

  1. Protecting Ourselves

Next we discussed the importance of what we can do, both as individuals and as a community, to protect ourselves. Please see this post and PDF download handout that outlines actions we can take now to deter and prevent crime. There are things all of us can do to make our homes and communities safer, as well as show the LAPD that we are doing all we can to help them in their fight against crime.

 

  1. Pacific Division LAPD Presentation

We were fortunate enough to have three members of the LAPD in attendance at the meeting:

  • Sergeant Kevin Lowe, Supervisor of Pacific Division’s Senior Lead Officers
  • Officer Pete Abskharon, Police Officer II, LAPD Community Relations Office
  • Officer Peggy Thusing, Senior Lead Officer for our neighborhood

Thank you to these officers for caring so much about our neighborhood!

The officers provided some insight into crime in our neighborhood, including some alarming statistics—about 80 percent of robberies, in both cars and homes, are the result of opportunism, unlocked doors and windows. This understandably greatly dismays the LAPD and we can all work to lower this statistic!

The LAPD understands our pleas and admitted that the Venice force is lacking in resources. Some good news:

  • Last week there was a crucial court decision that will now allow LAPD to arrest people for sleeping in the Venice Boardwalk Beach Park, a new development. We will post more about the relevant court decisions on our blog in the near future. Please note that you can sign up to receive notifications every time there is a new blog post, separate from being on our email newsletter list, a less frequent communication.
  • The LAPD also recently got approval for 10 additional officers assigned to the Pacific Division, bringing the total from 22 to 32, almost a 100% increase. These new officers will be hitting the streets in coming weeks.
  • Councilman Mike Bonin seems to be listening to the pleas of the Venice residents and the LAPD about the need for increased and improved handling of crime in our area.

The AKT organizing committee believes that while some or most of us may have grievances with the LAPD and perhaps our own stories about their lack of response and/or mishandling of incidents, we need to work with them, not against them. They have exceedingly hard jobs, and rather than focus on what they’re not doing, let’s look at what we can do to help and advocate for change. There is obviously a lack of LAPD resources in Venice and at the meeting we saw that the officers in attendance shared our frustration in this.

So please make your voice heard—if you have not yet expressed your concern to Councilman Mike Bonin, Mayor Eric Garcetti, and the LAPD please click here for their email addresses and a draft email. The more of us that demand changes, the greater chance of seeing results!

The LAPD provided two handouts to the group:

 

  1. In Conclusion

The AKT organizing committee knows that as a community we have a lot of frustration built up due to the overwhelming issues we all face daily. We get it, and that’s why we’re putting in so much work to organize our neighborhood. We plan to get your input, suggestions and issues of concern moving forward so that we address what you want to see change and get accomplished. Let’s all work together to make a change!

Please:

Thanks again for taking an active part to help us unit and protect our neighborhood!

—Organizing committee, the Abbot Kinney Triangle Neighborhood Association

How to Protect Yourself and Your Neighborhood from Crime

The AKT organizing committee put together a list of ways that we can protect ourselves from crime. Officer Pete Abskharon said it was the best he’d ever seen and will use it himself in neighborhood safety work! Here it is:

The officers provided some insight into crime in our neighborhood, including some alarming statistics—about 80 percent of robberies, in both cars and homes, are the result of opportunism, unlocked doors and windows. This understandably greatly dismays the LAPD and we can all work to lower this statistic!

Also, some statistics Officer Abskharon provided for the January 5, 2015, edition of the amazing Venice Update Newsletter:

VIOLENT CRIMES:

  • Robberies – 25% decrease from year prior
  • Aggravated Assaults – 26.7% decrease from year prior
  • Total violent crimes – 20% decrease from year prior

PROPERTY CRIMES:

  • Burglaries – 5.1% increase from year prior
  • Grand Theft Autos – 17.6% decrease from year prior
  • Burglary & Theft from Vehicles – 89% increase from year prior
  • Personal Theft – 12.3% decrease from year prior
  • Total property crimes – 15.9% increase from year prior

A lot of the home burglaries were unlocked doors and open windows. I want to urge everyone to lock the windows and doors in rooms they are not occupying. I noticed a sharp increase the last 3 months of suspects specifically targeting these unlocked doors/windows.

The vast majority of burglary & theft from vehicles involved expensive electronics in plain view, purses/briefcases in plain view, unlocked vehicle doors and property left in truck beds and/or rooftops (surfboards, luggage, bicycles etc.). Again, I am urging everyone in the community to remove property from their vehicles.

Officer’s made phenomenal arrests of burglars and car thieves in 2014. With that being said, I want to work on drastically reducing property related crimes in 2015. This needs to be a collaborative effort between us and the community we serve (and live in). I am reaching out to anyone who wants to establish a new neighborhood watch group or be a block captain/volunteer for their area to assist in crime reduction. Working for the Venice/Oakwood community this last year has been one of the highlights of my career and I’m looking forward to another great year!

Ways to Stay Informed: LAPD Pacific Division and Other Sources

The LAPD Pacific Division wants to hear from us when necessary, and at our inaugural AKT neighborhood meeting on January 21, 2015, handed out this flier to share all of that contact information:

012115_Five Points of Contact

They understandably asked that we not start at the top, with the Pacific Division captains—please start by contacting the senior lead officers (SLOs), the boots on the ground. 

We will also see about getting a non-scanned, dynamic text version of this PDF so it’s easier to click on and copy info from.

The officers also shared their social media channels to follow, which will help all of us know what’s going on in our neighborhood and what the LAPD is up to.

The AKT organizing committee would also like to suggest three other ways to stay informed about our neighborhood:

  • Venice311 (great neighborhood resource—especially Twitter feed, if you ever want to know why those helicopters are up there in a specific moment)
  • Subscribe to the Venice Update Newsletter (newsletter is far more robust than website)
  • YoVenice (now less of a resource since its amazing founder died)
  • Venice Stakeholders Association (amazing resource for legal issues and, as an organization, activist that battles on our behalf such as as public safety, the problems caused to Venice residents by transient encampments, and parking; if you believe in what they’re doing, please contribute money to the organization)

Abbot Kinney Triangle, Email of January 13, 2015

Howdy, Abbot Kinney Triangle Neighbors—

Thank you once again for adding your name to the Abbot Kinney Triangle Neighbors Association. Together we will protect our neighborhood and, by getting to know each other, enjoy doing it! We are happy to report that we are now 165 subscribers strong, up from 110 since our first email blast.

Please join us at our first neighborhood meeting. The meeting will be held in a private home on Rialto between Andalusia and Navarre Court.

  • Wednesday, January 21
  • 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. (official business to start at 7:30 p.m.)
  • Private residence, Rialto Ave. between Andalusia and Navarre Court
  • Please RSVP on EventBrite to get the exact address (click for link)
  • We’ll be renting chairs and serving drinks and snacks, so please pretend like you don’t live in LA and actually RSVP!

Our current mission has two prongs:

  1. Assuring that we residents are doing all we can to keep ourselves safe
  2. Asking city officials to better serve us in to-be-outlined specific ways

The focus of this meeting will be the first goal: doing what we can to protect our own neighborhood, as follows:

  1. Sharing a list of other simple actions we can all take to make our neighborhood safer
  2. Organizing ourselves into block captains and neighborhood safety watches, per the LAPD’s existing programs
  3. Outlining what being a block captain entails
  4. Asking for block captain volunteers
  5. Beginning to organize the installation of Neighborhood Watch signs

Once we are doing all we can as residents, we will be in a better position to assess our needs from the LAPD and the City of Los Angeles, which will be the focus of a subsequent meeting.

Two LAPD representatives will be in attendance for expertise and questions: Sergeant Kevin Lowe, supervisor of all Pacific Division Senior Lead Officers (SLOs), and SLO Pete Abskharon.

Please note: weather permitting, this will be an indoor/outdoor event.  Please dress accordingly.

We look forward to seeing you on Wednesday, January 21!

____________________________________________

Emergency contact information:

  • 911 for in-progress crimes and life-threatening emergencies
  • Police dispatch: (818) 734-2223
  • LAPD Pacific Division: (310) 482-6334
  • Senior Lead Officer Peggy Thusing: Mobile (310) 622-3968,25120@lapd.lacity.org
  • Abandoned Vehicles: 800-ABANDON (222-6366)
  • Graffiti Problems: 311
  • Councilman Mike Bonin’s office (council district 11): (310) 568-8772,mike.bonin@lacity.org
  • Cecilia Castillo, Mike Bonin’s CD11 Venice Deputy: cecilia.castillo@lacity.org

 

Abbot Kinney Triangle, Email of December 3, 2014

neighborhood

Welcome Abbot Kinney Triangle Neighbors—

Thank you so much for sharing your contact information with this project to support and protect our beautiful neighborhood. To refresh, about five of us are spearheading the formation of this new association. We distributed fliers and you responded by visiting abbotkinneytriangle.org to throw your hats into the neighborhood ring, bounded by Cabrillo, Grand, and Riviera.

As we mentioned in our flier, we have been spurred to action by the recent and alarming increase in crime, particularly “hot prowls” (break-ins while residents are home). Sadly, there has been another hot prowl since distributing the flier. It wasn’t in our Triangle, but on Venice Blvd. at Canal Street, just adjacent to the canals. Here is the homeowner’s description:

“A transient broke into my home this morning.
She climbed a wall onto my property and came in
through the front door. My pregnant wife woke me
up and I scared her out of the house where she
was arrested by LAPD in the parking lot behind my
house (while five other transients looked on passively).
We were lucky that we are safe and our
home was unharmed.”

The homeowner also wrote an open letter to local officials which you can read on our website here. Hot prowls continue to be an immediate danger in our neighborhood.Here’s what you can do:

  • Keep your eyes and ears open; report dangerous or suspicious situations to 911 or other numbers below; and lock windows and doors, as much as possible, both when you are home and (of course) when you’re not.
  • Write to our local officials expressing your concern. We’ve made it easy for you: visit this post on our website for email addresses of relevant public officials as well as a proposed email draft. 
  • In any way you can, please help to unify our voice as a neighborhood by communicating to officials our reasonable demand for improved security—it’s an action that will get immediate response.
  • Finally, please reach out to your other neighbors and friends in the Abbot Kinney Triangle to see if they signed up. If not, tell them about what we’re doing. The more voices we have, the stronger we will be to protect and support our neighborhood and neighbors.

We will keep you posted as other such crime occurs. In the meantime, we will be organizing a neighborhood meeting for early to mid-January and send out an invitation as soon as details are secured.

All our best,

Abbot Kinney Triangle Neighborhood Association

____________________________________________

PLEASE NOTE THAT IN THE ORIGINAL 12/3/14 EMAILING, CECILIA CASTILLO’S NAME AND EMAIL ADDRESS WERE INCORRECT. THE BELOW INFO HAS BEEN UPDATED AND IS CORRECT.
Emergency contact information:

  • 911 for in-progress crimes and life-threatening emergencies
  • Police dispatch: (818) 734-2223
  • LAPD Pacific Division: (310) 482-6334
  • Senior Lead Officer Peggy Thusing: Mobile (310) 622-3968,25120@lapd.lacity.org
  • Abandoned Vehicles: 800-ABANDON (222-6366)
  • Graffiti Problems: 311
  • Councilman Mike Bonin’s office (council district 11): (310) 568-8772,mike.bonin@lacity.org
  • Cecilia CastIllo, Mike Bonin’s CD11 Venice Deputy: cecilia.castillo@lacity.org

Please Send This Letter to Officials About Our Neighborhood Safety

To voice your concern about the increase in crime in our neighborhood, we suggest you email the following local officials (see just below the list for an easy copy-and-paste of addresses only):

Here are the collected addresses to easily copy and paste into your email:

mike.bonin@lacity.org, brian.johnson@lapd.lacity.org, mayor.garcetti@lacity.org, daniel.tamm@lacity.orgmike.feuer@lacity.org, charlie.beck@lapd.lacity.org, n4967@lapd.lacity.org, n4966@lapd.lacity.org, n4964@lapd.lacity.org, n4965@lapd.lacity.org, v8834@lapd.lacity.org

Here is a proposed draft for an email to copy, paste, and send:

Dear Mayor Garcetti, City Attorney Mike Feuer, Councilman Bonin, LAPD officials, et al,

We are neighbors of the newly formed Abbot Kinney Triangle Neighbors Association, living in the area bounded by Cabrillo, Grand, and Riviera. We are exceedingly alarmed by the rise in “hot prowls” in our neighborhood, with the most recent taking place on the morning of November 29, 2014.

Most of the perpetrators of these crimes—and car break-ins, vandalism, tire-slashing, assaults, trespass, burglaries, vehicle dwelling, and public urination/defecation—are criminal transients from the Venice Boardwalk and environs, a population that has become increasingly violent and dangerous to residents. While not all homeless people commit such crime, of course, the transient population of the Boardwalk and other pockets on the walk streets, 3rd Street, and western Venice Blvd. is terribly dangerous to the residents of Venice. We cannot understand why public officials and agencies are allowing drug addicts and dealers, felons, gang members, street thugs, the mentally ill, and the service-resistant homeless—largely hailing from outside the area—to so infringe on our safety and quality of life. Clearly there are potential solutions, visible by looking at the the safer and more protected Santa Monica Boardwalk, parks, and coastal neighborhoods. The occupations afflicting Venice are not allowed in other Los Angeles parks and should not be allowed here.

Venice needs adequate policing, and we need for the issues of the homeless of greater Los Angeles and Southern California not to be ours alone. Disastrous, tragic crimes have already been committed as a direct result of the conditions public officials have allowed to continue in our backyards. Our officials MUST find ways around the Jones Settlement and the Lavan and Desertrain decisions. And, as it does throughout the rest of the City’s park system, we need for the City of Los Angeles to enforce the municipal code against camping in city parks in the Venice Beach Recreation Area.

Sincerely,

Venice Resident

[Please sign your actual name—it’ll have a better impact.]

Thank you for helping to make our neighborhood safer!

Full Text of Neighbor’s Letter About Hot Prowl

Written on November 29, 2014, by a neighbor at Venice Blvd. and the Canals:

A transient broke into my home this morning. She climbed a wall onto my property and came in through the front door. My pregnant wife woke me up and I scared her out of the house where she was arrested by LAPD in the parking lot behind my house (while five other transients looked on passively).  We were lucky that we are safe and our home was unharmed.

Councilman Bonin: I would love to sit down with you, in my home or your office or around Venice, and understand what the plan is moving forward. Nearly five years ago you sat in my kitchen making promises with Councilman Rosendahl and nothing has changed—in fact, things have gotten worse. This neighborhood will no longer sit idly by while mentally disturbed and drug-addicted transients run amok in our homes and lives.

My years of fear of something like this happening to me and my family have now become reality. I cannot help but think that the system in place (by you and others) plays a part.  The norm of turning the other cheek to incidents like this has to stop.  You are putting peoples’ lives in danger.