Police close down open garages, COVID kills crime

by Dan Blackburn

That knock on the door in the dead of night just might be a Hermosa Beach police officer doing you a favor.

Open garage doors and unlocked vehicles attract the attention of thieves, and now, as well,  Hermosa Beach police officers working the graveyard shift. In an effort to reduce easy target thievery, Police Chief Paul LeBaron has initiated “Project Secure,” calling in part for officers to close garage doors that have been left open, and to notify residents of unlocked vehicles.

Hermosa Beach Police hope to encourage residents to secure their garages and cars by doing it for them. Image courtesy of HBP

“Property crimes continue to be the most common crimes in our community,” LeBaron said. “Thieves we have arrested tell us that they come to Hermosa Beach with the expectation they will find desirable items easy to steal. Project Secure is another way to remind residents that closing garage doors, locking vehicles and securing valuable property can help keep criminals and crime out of our community.”

Pre-printed cards inform residents that an officer secured their property.

According to LeBaron, certain crimes on Pier Plaza and downtown fell when COVID-19 closures and restrictions eliminated or significantly reduced the late-night party activities.

Statistics provided by the police department show that total calls for service in downtown Hermosa Beach declined 58 percent, from 5,718 calls for service in 2019 to 3,303 calls for service in 2020. Public drunkenness arrests also decreased, from 67 public drunkenness arrests in 2019 to 37 during the same period.

Significantly, assault and assault with a deadly weapon arrests dropped, from 70 arrests in 2019 to 41 in 2020. But citations and arrests for alcohol-related crimes during daylight hours have increased.

The department has increased traffic and Strand enforcement, according to a city press release, and the department has “more time to focus on detecting and preventing other crimes,” said LeBaron.

 

Shooting suspects arrested

Two men have been arrested for a shooting that occured in Hermosa Beach at the intersection of Hermosa Avenue. and 2nd Street on Feb. 17. 

Kailen White and Jaycob Silva, of Wilmington, had been drinking at a restaurant on the Pier Plaza. As they were driving away, an argument erupted between the two men and a pedestrian. White is accused of firing several shots from a handgun at the pedestrian before driving away. Bullets struck a nearby apartment complex, narrowly missing a woman watching the incident from her kitchen window. 

Silva made bail and was released while awaiting trial. White is being held in the HBPD jail while awaiting bail. ER

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Written by: Dan Blackburn

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