A note from…
JONATHAN TOM, Captain
WEST LOS ANGELES AREA
1663 Butler Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90025
January 8, 2022
To the West Los Angeles community, Happy New Year!
As the Captain and Commanding Officer of West Los Angeles Area (WLA), I have been fortunate to work with and develop relationships with many of our community partners. West Los Angeles is a unique command in that we serve everyone from persons experiencing homelessness to billionaires and everyone in between. People travel from all over the region to work and play here and people come from all over the world to visit our world class attractions. The diversity of culture, socioeconomic status, geography and varied concerns makes this a dynamic place to live and work. Without the continued collaboration of the community with the LAPD we could not be successful. Together, we have worked side by side to identify and address problems in order to increase the overall safety of the community. As a geographic command, our highest priority is ensuring the safety and security of everyone on the Westside and we can only do that when we work hand in hand with our diverse communities.
An interesting fact is that West Los Angeles Area is the largest geographic command in the City and at approximately 65 square miles it is larger than the City of Long Beach. Since the beginning of 2020, I have been proud to serve our quarter million residents as well as the business owners, their clientele, visitors and the students of our world class educational institutions.
In looking back at 2021, it was apparent that the Westside community saw a large increase in the number of persons experiencing homelessness living on the streets. While this has impacted the quality of life for many of you it is evident that this trend is part of a larger societal issue that must be addressed in a thoughtful way. The police cannot provide the solution to homelessness and yet we know that as the most visible component of City government, we are often the ones that you turn to for hope. Your police are but one part of the solution and we are committed to doing what we can. That being said, we will continue to address violations of the law based on the priority of the crimes and concerns and deployment considerations. For 2022, one of our goals is to provide further education to the community regarding the other City and County resources that are available regarding homeless outreach, clean ups, etc and to double down on our commitment to working collaboratively with you, City and County resources and homeless service providers.
Throughout the year, we continued to struggle with deployment due to staffing shortages across the Department and West Los Angeles Area. Despite our deployment issues, the officers assigned to your West Los Angeles Community Police Station did incredibly well in relation to our counter-parts across Operations-West Bureau and the Department as a whole. See below and in the attached chart for a comparison of West Los Angeles, Operations-West Bureau and the entire Department (LAPD):
WLA In 2021 vs 2020 versus Operations-West Bureau and the Department
Part I crime: WLA only had a 0.3% INCREASE versus a 10.2% INCREASE in Operations-West Bureau and 4.6% INCREASE for the entire Department (See chart for the crimes that constitute Part I crimes)
Homicides: WLA had a 100% REDUCTION versus a 7.3% INCREASE in Operations-West Bureau and 11.8% INCREASE for the entire Department.
Arrests: WLA had a 20.3% INCREASE versus a 7.9% INCREASE in Operations-West Bureau and a 0.7% REDUCTION for the entire Department.
Productivity (Traffic Cites/Warnings and Release From Custody Cites): WLA had a 11% INCREASE versus a 15.3% REDUCTION in Operations-West Bureau and a 25.6% REDUCTION for the entire Department.
Sick/Injured on Duty (IOD): Despite the mandatory quarantine rules for COVID positive employees, WLA had a 3.4% DECREASE in Sick/IOD hours per officer versus a 14.3% INCREASE in Operations-West Bureau and a 10.8% INCREASE for the entire Department.
On these good notes, I want to share some important points that I feel are necessary for our community members to hear and act upon in order to decrease your chances of becoming a victim and assist the police with the investigation if you do become a victim.
1. Continue to be personally vigilant. Situational awareness is something that we all can do a better job with.
A. Put your cell phones away when you are walking to and from your vehicles or just around the neighborhood. You will be amazed at the things you never noticed before.
B. Pay attention to your surroundings and to who is paying attention to you. Criminals look for easy targets. Paying attention makes it more difficult for a criminal to catch you unaware.
C Make a mental note or take photos when things seem out of place.
2. Lock it, Hide it, Keep it! Is an old refrain, but it is every bit as valid as it was when the phrase was coined by the LAPD 12 years ago in 2010.
Note: Although we are doing a better job of it overall, we continue to see vehicles that are stolen with the keys inside of them and homes that are burglarized with unlocked doors and windows.
3. Although we had 10.4% less Burglaries from 2021 to 2020, we have noticed a recent increase in the number of Burglaries where the suspects smashed a rear glass door window to gain entry to the residence.
In general, it would appear that the suspects are generally selecting higher end properties that they believe to be unoccupied; do not have cameras; and are out of view of neighbors. Therefore, it would benefit you to consider installing cameras, lighting and alarms. An important part of making your house unappealing to burglars is to always make your house appear to be occupied. Install motion lights and working cameras, put lights on timers; leave cars in the driveway; put your mail on hold if you are going out of town; etc.
Despite the negativity that sometimes pervades our lives, it is my fervent hope that you know that I remain as committed as ever to making West Los Angeles as safe as possible. I will not be distracted and will remain faithful to my role as the Commanding Officer of West Los Angeles Area. We cannot succeed without each other so I am hopeful that in 2022 you take personal responsibility for making yourself as hard a target as possible. Join or continue to be active in a Neighborhood Watch; Homeowners Association; Business Improvement District; Neighborhood Council or other community organization because they will help build a sense of community and ownership where you live and work. By joining these organizations, you will get to know the people in your neighborhood and have the added bonus of having more direct access to your police and the other resources your City government provides.
Please feel free to reach out to your local LAPD representatives, i.e.: the officers patrolling your neighborhoods, your Senior Lead Officers and myself to ensure that the lines of communication stay open.