The leaders of WeHo’s Center City Alliance Neighborhood Watch group have launched a group on Facebook for West Hollywood resident to alert one another to incidents of crime in the area.
The group, called West Hollywood Crime Busters, is one of several Facebook groups covering neighorhoods such as Hollywood Hills, North Hollywood, the West San Fernando Valley, Sherman Oaks and downtown Los Angeles.
Each group is “closed,” which means that postings on it are kept private among group members. Anyone wishing to join the group must make a request on its Facebook page.
The group was launched by Ben Coleman and Jake Lee of the Center City Alliance Neighborhood Watch group in early September, shortly after an apparently homeless man was discovered to have attacked another man with a hatchet in front of the 7-Eleven store on Santa Monica Boulevard at Havenhurst. That attacker, Kisu Brady Brown, was arrested on a charge of attempted murder.
Jake Lee said that he and Coleman had come to realize that the city’s Neighborhood Watch groups “were not communicating with each other. There was no way to share information (about crime and public safety) within our small city.”
Lee said in the past he had lobbied City Council members to create more Neighborhood Watch groups to fill gaps in the city but didn’t get any support.
Lee said Heather Carbone, who organized the Hollywood Hills group and has been the impetus behind the creation of others, approached him about Crime Busters
Lee said its mission is to share important information, which could include photos of suspected criminals or images of license plates of their cars. Carbone, in fact, posted a video on Hollywood Hills Crime Busters of Kisu Brown walking down a street carrying a hatchet while West Hollywood Sheriff’s deputies were searching for him.
“One of the rules is no advertising, and let’s try not to get political,” Lee said.
Lee said he sees the group as another way to bring residents together with a feeling of community.
Lee said that while the group “closed,” which means that postings on it are kept private among group members, he and Coleman that West Hollywood is a community made up of residents, employees, business owners, sheriff’s deputies, safety ambassadors, as well as visitors and that all can be valuable in sharing safety issues and suspicious persons and activity. Anyone wishing to join the group must make a request on its Facebook page, Lee said,
As of this writing, the group has 392 members. Among the site’s many post are several by Lee of a man urinating on the street and one by a local resident who praised the city’s bicycle safety “ambassadors” for helping him apprehend a man who punched him in the mouth on Santa Monica Boulevard.