Politics Magazine

Littlerock Residents Raise Concern Over Possible Burglary Spree

Posted on the 12 January 2014 by Jim Winburn @civicbeebuzz

LITTLEROCK – Some residents in this unincorporated area of the Antelope Valley believe that burglaries are on the rise – and that a powder keg situation exists for a Wild West response to outlaws if Sheriff’s deputies don’t take action in the outlying areas.

Littlerock resident Joey Rico told the Bee that in the last couple of weeks thieves have made multiple visits to his property and his neighbor’s, while also “cleaning out” a friend’s home in nearby Lake Los Angeles.

“I talked to the Sheriff out here and told him it was about two steps from being the Wild West out here,” Rico said in a phone interview. “If the Sheriff’s don’t step up, they are going to lose this town.”

Burglars are caught on camera in this unidentified home's surveillance

Burglars are caught on camera in this unidentified home’s surveillance

“Honestly, I really don’t think they care too much about what’s going on out here,” Rico said in response to a public comment regarding the Sheriff’s slow response times to service calls in the unincorporated areas.

However, Rico made a distinction with the area’s resident Sheriff’s deputy, Andy Cronin. “I called (Deputy Cronin) because I had an incident where somebody had stole a couple of bicycles, and it seemed he was more concerned than anybody else.”

Rico also told the public how his neighbor’s car was broken into on his property, and he told the Bee that thieves gained access to his friend’s mother-in-law’s house in Lake Los Angeles, where they “took everything: laptop, groceries in the refrigerator, and she was gone for only a matter of minutes.”

In response to these crimes, Rico said he would be putting up fences to allow his dogs to roam his entire property. However, Rico noted another deterrent to the burglary sprees, which he posted to his Facebook page on Dec. 30, 2013.

“Last night had an attempted break in,” Rico posted via his mobile phone. “There was a breach in my property. Action was taken (with) the sound of my 12 gauge. Sent two individuals running down my block wearing hoodies … I heard car doors down the block close. Then a pt cruiser possibly blue came up yonder.”

* * *

Deputy Cronin, who was on vacation but not off the record, told the Bee that he did not know if there’s been a recent increase in burglaries in the outlying communities, saying that not all incidents are reported to the Sheriff’s Department.

Deputy Jodi Wolfe, facebook.com/deputy.wolfe, who is Palmdale Sheriff’s Station Public Information Officer, told the Bee she would need to check with Sheriff’s Department analysis to determine if there has been an increase in burglaries in the Palmdale Sheriff’s outlying areas. This data would be based on resident’s complaints reported to the Sheriff’s Department as well as actual service calls made to these areas, she said.

Deputy Wolfe assured the Bee that the Palmdale Sheriff’s Station is concerned with any criminal activity in the outlying areas, and that residents “should always report burglaries and other incidents of concern to the Sheriff’s so they are aware of what is going on in your area.”

* * *

Some residents are attributing the uprise in crime to the early release of prisoners through the state’s realignment program. And their suspicions may be justified according to a Dec. 2013 study by the Public Policy Institute of California.

Public Safety Realignment and Crime Rates in California, available at ppic.org/…/report, explains that California’s corrections realignment plan consists of “sentencing lower-level offenders to county jails rather than state prison,” while also “giving counties, rather than the state, most of the responsibilities for parolees.”

The study finds that although county jails absorbed many of the non-violent offenders affected by the legislation, “about 18,000 offenders, who in past years would have been in either prison or jail, are not serving time behind bars (Lofstrom and Raphael 2013). This large increase in ‘street time’ among former prison inmates has raised obvious concerns about crime.”

The report finds “robust evidence” that realignment is related to “increased property crime,” estimating an additional “one to two property crimes per year on average for each offender who is not incarcerated as a result of realignment.”

The PPIC study also states, “We see substantial increases in the number of motor vehicle thefts, which went up by 14.8 percent between 2011 and 2012. Our estimates translate to an increase in the motor vehicle theft crime rate of about 65 more auto thefts per year per 100,000 residents. In a comparison with other states, California had the highest increase in this area. This increase, of about 24,000 auto thefts per year, reverses a declining trend in this theft rate and brings it back to 2009 levels.”

Although the report urges the state to consider “safer, smarter, and more cost-effective approaches to corrections and crime prevention” as realignment continues to unfold – recommending to spend more of the taxpayer’s money on policing rather than incarceration – the PPIC study does note that more early releases could escalate crime rates in California.

“Our analysis suggests that, on average, further reductions are likely to lead to somewhat greater effects on crime, in the range of 7 to 12 percent more property crime than the property crime numbers we have estimated for 2011–2012,” the report states.

* * *

Residents of unincorporated areas are urged to contact the Palmdale Station of the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department to report any criminal activity in their communities.

Call 661-272-2400 or visit the Palmdale station online at palmdale.lasd.org or facebook.com/PalmdaleSheriffsStation.

Concerned residents may also contact LA Crime Stoppers to remain anonymous at 800-222-TIPS (8477), or by using their website at lacrimestoppers.org.

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