Crime Still Climbs in WeHo, With Vehicle Burglaries Up 134% in February

Crime reporting districts in West Hollywood

The 215 serious crimes reported in West Hollywood last month were an increase of 64% over February 2018, according to a report from the West Hollywood Sheriff’s Station.

There were 68 vehicle burglaries citywide,  a 134% increase from February 2018. William Moulder, the acting captain of the West Hollywood Sheriff’s Station, has said there is evidence of gang activity in vehicle burglaries. They have been a problem in other areas besides West Hollywood.

The majority of those burglaries occurred on the city’s Westside, with 42 reported, up from 12 during the same month last year. Petty theft, the theft of money or items worth less than $950, accounted for the second highest number of crimes, with 70 citywide, up from 49 in February 2018.  Petty theft usually involves shoplifting.

There were 30 incidents of grand theft, the theft of money or items worth $950 or more, across the whole city in February, up from 19 in February 2018.

A report to the City Council on Monday by Capt. Moulder and Kristin Cook, who heads the city’s Public Safety Department, showed that serious crime in West Hollywood increased 22% for the six months from July through December 2018 versus July through December 2017. Sixty-nine aggravated assaults were responsible for the biggest percentage increase (64%), but vehicle burglaries (up 108, or 40%, over the last six months of 2018) were the primary factor in the overall increase in serious or Part 1 crimes.

Petty thefts ( up 22%) and grand thefts ( up 18%) also increased significantly, the report noted. It said that Larceny / Theft, a category that includes grand theft, petty theft and vehicle burglary, accounts for 75% of all Part 1 crime in West Hollywood in the last half of 2018.

The report also showed that serious crimes have been steadily climbing in West Hollywood over the past five years. There were 793 serious crimes reported in 2014 and 1,282 reported in 2018. City Councilmember John Heilman said he was concerned about the increase and asked that City Hall convene a group to discuss how to address the increase.

Where Does the Crime Happen in West Hollywood?

So where do the crimes occur in West Hollywood?  In its presentation on Monday, the Sheriff’s Station reported that the city’s Westside was the location of 37% of serious crimes in the last six months of last year. The Eastside saw a 14% increase. The City Center saw a minor increase of 2%.

The West Hollywood Sheriff’s Station, in its monthly update of serious (Part 1) crimes in the city, actually lists them by 12 smaller reporting districts.  Five of those are in the city’s Westside, four in City Center and three on the Eastside.

On the Westside

The Sheriff’s Station’s report of serious crimes in February alone shows that most of them (120) are on the west side of town.  For the most part, they involved theft, with the majority of them being from cars or of cars.  Most of those occurred in reporting district 972, which runs from Santa Monica Boulevard south to the city’s southern border just past Beverly Boulevard and thus includes the southern part of the Santa Monica bar and nightlife area (as well as the West Hollywood West residential neighborhood.)  The reporting district is bordered on the west by Doheny Drive and on the east by La Cienega Boulevard, except for a small pocket that reaches east to include the area bounded by Rosewood and Sweetzer.

Of the 46 thefts reported in that district in February, 26 were vehicle burglaries and 10 were grand thefts. The remaining 10 were petty thefts.  Two cars were reported stolen. 

Three homes were burglarized, and two rapes were reported (the only ones reported in the entire city in February).

District 977 ranked second in crimes reported in February.  That zone begins on the north side of Santa Monica Boulevard, stretching west to Doheny Drive and east to La Cienega Boulevard. Its northern boundary is just south of Sunset Boulevard.  That reporting district, also part of the Boystown bar and nightlife area, reported 34 thefts, with nine of them vehicle burglaries. It beat the rest of the city by far when it comes to petty thefts, with 20 reported in February out of a total of 70 citywide. The area experienced three robberies (one of them an armed robbery).

District 986, which covers Sunset Boulevard from Doheny Drive to La Cienega, reported only 14 serious crimes. Five of them were vehicle burglaries, four were grand thefts and three were petty thefts. Two cars were reported stolen.

District 978, which covers the West Hollywood Heights neighborhood, was peaceful, as was District 971, which surrounds the West Hollywood Sheriff’s Station.

On the Eastside

There were 57 crimes in the three reporting districts on the east side of West Hollywood, with the largest category (25 reports) involving petty thefts.  There were 11 petty thefts in reporting district 989, the area bordered on the south by Romaine Street, on the west by Formosa Avenue, on the north by Santa Monica Boulevard and stretching to the city’s boundary on the east. It’s the location of the Gateway shopping plaza, the city’s largest concentration of retailers.  There was one vehicle burglary in that district, two grand thefts and two robberies and five aggravated assaults.

District 973 reported 17 serious crimes.  That district is bordered by Fountain Avenue on the north, North Gardner Street on the west, Romaine on the south (except for the 989 area) and the city’s boundary at La Brea Avenue on the east.  Most of the crimes there (12 of them) involved thefts. Of those, three were vehicle burglaries. One car was stolen.

More serious were two reported armed robberies and two aggravated assaults in that district.

District 974 reported 19 crimes, with the types of crimes and numbers almost equal to those in district 973.  It was different in that it had three strong armed robberies and one building burglary.  That district is bordered on the west by Fairfax Avenue, on the north by Fountain Avenue, on the south by Willoughby Avenue and on the east by North Gardner Street.

The Center City

The four districts in the center of West Hollywood reported the fewest crimes.  Of the 38 crimes overall, 20 were vehicle burglaries.  Fifteen of those vehicle burglaries occurred in district 975, which is bordered on the east by Fairfax Avenue, on the west by North Harper Avenue, on the south by the city limits at Willoughby and Romaine and on the north by the city limits just short of Sunset Boulevard.  That district’s 20 reported crimes also included one residential burglary and four other thefts.

The 13 crimes reported in district 976 were in the same categories, with the exception of one strong-armed robbery. There were eight petty thefts and two vehicle burglaries.  District 976 stretches from North Harper Avenue on the east to La Cienega Boulevard on the west.  Its northern boundary is just short of Sunset Boulevard and includes Delongpre Avenue.  It is bounded on the south by the city’s own irregular boundary limits at Willoughby and Waring.

District 987 reported only four crimes (two vehicle burglaries and two grand thefts) and district 988 reported only one crime, a vehicle burglary. That district essentially spans Sunset Boulevard from La Cienega Boulevard to just past North Harper.

  1. A lot has to be with responsible drinking but it is scary that there are people that are literally walking right next to us in WeHo that are prying on people that are by themselves and stealing their wallets and phones and walking them to the atm to have them take out cash. Honestly there isn’t enough police officers walking around and they should be seeing suspicious activity like that. If you see an individual that is being escorted to the atm by someone else that looks completely coherent and is instructing the intoxicated individual to take out money, then something is not right. It occurs way too much and the officers need to do something about it.

  2. To be sure, West Hollywood is far too permissive to criminals, but this is also a state wide problem, and it is the direct result of Prop 47.

    Every major law enforcement association and DA in the state warned us before hand that when you essentially decriminalize possession and use of narcotics, and the myriad thefts, burglaries and robberies that hardcore addicts commit all day long in order to support their addiction, it guarantees in increase in those crimes.

    And surprise, surprise, they were right. Now we’re all stuck with the fallout.

  3. Meanwhile, the city and city council are distracted completely by the antics of Duran.
    Call it a hijacking.

    West Hollywood, the unserious city.

    1. Though there are some very legitimate concerns over the the function of the City Council but, it is NOT focused entirely on the sex lives of the Council Members. Just because the “antics” of the Mayor are getting a great deal of media attention does NOT mean that’s the ONLY thing going on! The “serious” issues, many of which I have struggled to bring attention to, do NOT generate the kind of interest from the general public in stark contrast to some hyped up sex scandal. What gets all the attention is NOT always the main thing going on!

  4. First off I would like to acknowledge the previous posters very legitimate concerns over the crime problems that we are experiencing in West Hollywood but, overreactions without an understanding the root causes will only make the problem far worse! Believe it or not my understanding of what we are experiencing in West Hollywood and other nice places does NOT come from University course work or research but, the menial work I did to pay my through College as a Security Officer at Half Way Houses for more than a few years. A large part of this had to do with hardened criminals completely willing to show me their true colors, largely because they knew I was NOT in a position of influence over their situation and, I routinely witnessed them manipulate those who did.

    West Hollywood has made itself a target because it consists exclusively of well educated individuals of high socioeconomic status that criminals have no real fear of crossing! The elimination of affordable housing so that low income people cannot live here is what’s putting the remaining residents in danger. Criminals are for the most part are cowardly bullies who will avoid a violent confrontation that they have ANY chance of losing and, low income individuals with strong ties to a community that criminals are in ANYWAY disrespecting will immediately provide a high level confrontation that endangers invading criminal’s survival. 🙂

    Criminals have little concern over law enforcement or even well armed preppy combat amateurs, low income individuals who strongly identify with and are a part of the community is something they fear the most. The few times I’ve seen where any criminals have crossed such people, they are quickly offering a full confession to the authorities in exchange for protective custody. Put simply, the wealthy can greatly enhance their survival by accepting a good number of poor people as part of their community!

  5. As a retired Sheriffs Lieutenant and Security Consultant I would like to offer some criticism, critique and solution to problems listed in this story. I had success in my career catching both vehicle and residential burglars. I was also the West Hollywood Station Narcotics Crew sergeant for several years in the mid 90’s
    In order to catch burglars you have to get “down in the weeds” with them .These criminals have to drive into WHD ,do their crime and leave. The patrol deputies must go the high crime areas and using the vehicle code and suspicious activity talk to people. Car stops and detailed notes on people and vehicles in the area. “Deputy A stops a red chevy with a male driving. Later that day Deputy B takes a burglary report listing a red chevy and the described male as the suspect”! Its low tech police work but its effective. In addition the crooks get tired of getting stopped and they move on. Problem is twofold ..First the crooks are not afraid of the WHD deputies. Its common knowledge the WHD Deps are more “service oriented” and less likely to jam up crooks .Its not their fault . The Sheriffs Dept and WHD City have made it difficult for deputies to get tough on crime. The city wants friendly cops and LASD will investigate any crook who bring s complaint .Sorry buy I have heard that from crooks. Not a knock on the deputies.

    Club Crowds ..I have driven my granddaughter to WHD and dropped her off to go clubbing. On the weekends I have observed clubs overflowing with people and crowds on the sidewalk so deep it was impossible to walk . At 2am the sidewalk on Santa Monica from San Vicente east for quarter mile so packed it was dangerous to walk. In addition I observed people working security at the doors with no identifying jackets .Several pop up clubs (on Robertson ?) had possible gang members at the door collecting money and acting as security California requires that all security guards be licensed and have their license on them to be presented to LE on demand. Bureau of Safety and Investigative Services (BSIS) will come out to a city and do a license check if requested
    I am not familiar with the WHD Director of Public Safety. I do think that this position should be given to someone who has knowledge and experience in the area of security
    LE and emergency management. Not used to satisfy affirmative action. This position should be able to review the Sheriffs Dept logs and work product to ensure that the city is receiving its appropriate law enforcement.In addition the Director should be able to discuss any problems and solutions on the same level with Sheriffs Management. The director should be able to bring in someone to audit the work product if necessary.

    Criminals have found a gold mine in WHD. There is valuable property to take and so far not much heat!

  6. here’s a concept… get the Sheriff to patrol more than Santa Monica blvd (at high speeds with lights on just to cross intersections) and perhaps on foot; like good police work used to be done. We have Sheriff’s in patrol cars that literally drive past situations that require their attention and they act is if they can’t be bothered- because it’s below them. It’s time for the Sheriff department to provide us, the people that pay them, with a plan of action. We can look at the statistics and they why’s, but when cops aren’t visible, bad things happen.

    Calling the Sheriff non emergency is a JOKE! They treat you like your a bother and that your call probably won’t be gotten around to, unless there LITERALLY is nothing else to do.

  7. Last night’s city council meeting was a pathetic farce.

    I’m sure it was organized by Paul Arevalo, the city manager. Who is in lock step with John Duran and John Heilman. Two of the most corrupt politicians on record.

    The Townscape Johns won’t not like the fact that federal authorities are looking into their connection with Townscape and Marathon Communications. Especially since the owner of Marathon was granted a weed license. More “pay for play” in WEHO.

  8. West Hollywood has been like a candy store for low level thieves and burglars forever. Prior to cityhood a number of us walked the streets at night, not necessarily to confront criminals but to to report to the sheriff. We had large, bright flashlights and mobile radios. I’m now far too old for that sort of activity but I did learn then (and on the streets of London) that bright lights and human presence and vigilance can prevent many criminal acts. Strong arm robberies and assaults are another item as I see that they take place even during daylight hours and on busy streets. The police alone are not enough. Citizens must get involved and learn how to protect their property and their well-being. Foot patrols – bike patrols work also.

  9. We all feel it. No longer walk alone at night around WeHo. We need more foot and car patrols around our neighborhoods!

  10. As long as we have an incompetent Director of Public Safety, crime will continue to rise. People will start caring when they are the victims, It’s only a matter of time before it happens. Why aren’t people speaking truth to power and demanding that those responsible for out Safety be held accountable before they are victims? No other City this Size would tolerate this kind of crime without making Administrative changes.

    1. I agree, and on Hilldale Ave. and surrounding streets the filth of fresh and old vomit from the besotted on Santa Monica Blvd., dog poop land mines, frequently broken bottles, food trays and bags with partially eaten food and occasionally human poop now decorate our streets and apartment buildings that have open, accessible courtyards that low lives use as urinals. For a city that prides itself on heavy tourist trade as well as the residents this is a gross disgrace. I have never seen streets and sidewalks so filthy in any other city. Last week a woman was squatting with her pants down and peeing in front of our bldg. The deputies did nothing. It’s only going to get worse as the building frenzy continues to add more places for people to get drunk.

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