Capt. Sergio Aloma, the head of the West Hollywood Sheriff’s Station, appeared at the West Hollywood City Council meeting last night to explain steps he was taking to address safety concerns expressed by residents of the city’s Eastside after a stabbing death on Sunday.
The stabbing, which occurred near the McDonald’s restaurant on La Brea Avenue, has prompted a number of residents to decry what they have seen as an increase in violent crime. However Aloma told the Council that aggravated assaults have actually declined sharply in West Hollywood. He said such assaults, which typically involve a weapon, were down 20% in 2017 over 2016. So far this year, Aloma said, aggravated assaults are down 23%
Aloma said he has been in touch with the L.A. County Sheriff’s Departments Homicide Bureau, which is optimistic that it will find the assailant. The man attacked has been identified as Bernar Jivan Arlain, 32. Arlain is an African-American man who apparently had lives in Los Angeles and now appears to be homeless, Aloma said.
Arlain apparently got into an argument with another man just after 1 a.m. on Sunday. He was stabbed by the man and eventually fell and died behind the bus shelter in front of the Dylan apartment building on Santa Monica Boulevard.
Aloma was questioned last night by Councilmember Lauren Meister as to what steps the station was taking to improve safety on the Eastside. Aloma said the station is stepping up foot patrols in the area and will park its black and white squad cars in prominent places so as to let possible criminals know law enforcement officers in the area. Car patrols in the area also will be increased, he said.
Meister pressed Aloma as to why a van that was considered by some to be a mobile deputy station wasn’t on the Eastside. That van, Aloma said, was designed as a place to house officers during major events and to be used during major emergencies. He said he preferred to have officers on the street rather than housed in a van. Aloma also assured the Council that the Sheriff’s Community Oriented Policing and Problem Solving (COPPS) team is constantly on the streets interacting with homeless people.