With property crime of key concern in the Valley, Councilman Dennis Zine's office and the LAPD have taken a new step to help combat the problem. LAPD Senior Lead Officer Rob Trulik was in Tarzana recently to announce the imminent arrival of new mobile cameras in the area to help combat crime.
The West Valley division is expecting mobile cameras by late November, said Trulik. The cameras have been purchased by Councilman Zine's office as well as partnering agencies, and the LAPD will be putting them in locations with high incidents of property crime.
According to Trulik, the camera system will be in "areas where we have repeat criminal activity, and where a camera might deter criminal activity, like in Balboa Park. "We will be putting up cameras mounted on street lights and telephone poles," said Trulik, "where we can remotely monitor those cameras. We have a tech room at the West Valley Division, and we have volunteers that will be watching TVs," said Trulik.
The camera angles can also be remotely operated from the police station, and, said Trulik, "we can send in officers when we see suspicious activities."
Because the cameras are mobile, they can be sent to monitor different areas as needed, and will be used to keep an eye on community areas rather than, say, private businesses.
"Property crime. It's the one thing we can identify that you as members of the public can help us with," said Officer Trulik at a recent Tarzana Neighborhood Council meeting, where he spoke in place of Senior Lead Officer Darryl Scoggins.
"Car break-ins are the number one crime in the City of L.A," said Trulik, "Don't leave items in plain sight."
Trulik described how, when he was with cadets walking on a routine patrol around Zelzah Avenue in Encino, "We observed laptops, purses, birthday presents wrapped up on the front seat of a car."
He also said that there was a big increase in cars that were left unlocked. This makes it easy for thieves, who just "walk by and jiggle door handles, and remove items from vehicles that are not secure."
In parks like Balboa Park, people sit in the park and watch you put your valuables in the trunk. It takes "34 minutes if you're really fast" to get around the park, said Trulik, and more if you're not. This gives thieves plenty of time to break into your car and steal your property.
See also: Property Crime Is Up in Encino and Lake Balboa