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« Home / News / NEIGHBORHOOD WATCH MEETING REPORT

NEIGHBORHOOD WATCH MEETING REPORT
7-16-16

COMBINED NOTES FROM TUJUNGA'S AND SUNLAND'S MORNING NEIGHBORHOOD WATCH MEETINGS OF JULY 5 & 6:

A local drug dealer is now serving 8½ years in prison. He first received three months' probation, violated that, and earned the longer sentence.

We now have two "Metro" units here. Metros are not black-and-whites and do not answer radio calls. They are rotated through specific areas to watch for crimes in progress and apprehend criminals. You'll recall Foothill lost a few good officers to these citywide Metro units a year ago. Now we get these Metros' crime-fighting capabilities back here for a while.
LAPD now has off-road units back in the Wash.
S-T now has two dedicated weekend LAPD "party cars" for the summer! Hansen Dam will get more units during events. Officer Contreras credited Councilman Felipe Fuentes for this funding.

Want an extra $2,000?!
If your solid information about a graffiti tagger leads LAPD to an arrest, you get $2K. One person has earned this reward several times! Be careful, though. Many taggers are armed and ferocious.

There's also a $1,000 fine for setting off illegal fire works. If you can pinpoint the culprits, you can bleed their wallets!

Local crime had spiked up—several robberies and one knife assault—but is again lower. Vehicle owners and residents could have prevented many of those robberies by locking cars' and homes' doors and windows.

Two traffic deaths on Foothill were not speed-related: Reportedly, they were due to an illegal U-turn and one failure to yield.
Our promised "Traffic Survey" moves through the City's machinery. Currently, laws forbid officers from using lasers to verify speed on Foothill because our old survey is outdated. (I know. This law makes no sense.) Officers still ticket speeders either by pacing them or visually estimating speed.

We need a united LAPD+residents effort to stop water balloons and super-squirters at future Fourth of July parades. Several long-term parade participants—Bolton Hall, local bands, antique automobiles, and elderly pillars of our community—have withdrawn from the parade following water damage to instruments, bodies, historical clothing, or prized possessions in the parade. This year added a physical altercation between balloon throwers and an incensed resident. Six LAPD arrived immediately to quench hot tempers.

Proposition 64 wants to legalize recreational marijuana. Promoters fail to mention:
- There are no controls on pot's chemical or psychoactive content
- Today's pot is intensely stronger after 50 years' selective breeding for higher psychoactivity.
- High schools have already seen overdoses from "recreational brownies"
- Prop 64 would make pot more prevalent, easier for little children to find around the home, easier for males over 18 to lure middle- and high-school girls.

LAPD quietly place hidden cams at trouble spots to catch vandals, speeders and drug dealers. Locations are not announced until after cams are moved to a new location.

When it's hard to pinpoint and prove serious crimes in a perennial nuisance home, LAPD and responsible residents can contact DWP, City Health, and Building and Safety to get inspections. If violations are found, agencies can levy fines or eventually force eviction.

Due to the ease with which drunks and minors can often illegally get liquor, San Fernando Valley Partnership is updating its list of compliant and non-compliant liquor retailers. SFVP welcome residents to visit local package stores with them and convince more stores to comply with liquor laws. Call (818) 837-7767 to help.

A hookah bar in western Sunland, south of Foothill, received so many late-night noise complaints that an officer said to call 911 when such problems recur there.

# # #




4-19-16 - NEIGHBORHOOD WATCH REPORT
POLICE REPORTS AND LEGAL TOOLS AGAINST CRIME
 
Tuesday's monthly Neighborhood Watch meeting began just after 6:00 PM on April 19. It hosted and educated approximately 30 people, ending around 7:25 PM. Sunland Senior Lead Officer Cesar Contreras and Tujunga SLO Gloria Caloca emceed and gave updates.
 
Local Crime Update
Echoing our longtime pattern, Sunland-Tujunga suffers most from property crimes, particularly theft from vehicles—often those left unlocked or with valuables in sight. Draw your own conclusions!
 
We have far fewer break-ins and violent crimes than most of Los Angeles. Vandals committed three anti-Armenian hate crimes targeting people flying the Armenian flag for Genocide Remembrance Day. The dead horse in the Wash apparently injured itself originally, but was later dumped.
 
Last weekend's large crowds at Hansen Dam's Orcas Park were unusually rowdy, defied police, and required intervention. Car clubs there are usually responsive to police requests, so police "live and let live" unless behavior becomes criminal or dangerous. Event permits for Orcas only specify one LAPD car, but this is often inadequate.
 
"Stay-Away Orders" are a valuable legal tool against habitual offenders. Akin to a restraining order, they mandate that a person stay away from a given location, e.g., Sunland Park. When s/he later commits a crime in the forbidden area, the stay-away order indicates an unrepentant attitude that judges may treat more harshly. A stay-away order recently helped raise one perp's sentence to four years.
 
Residents report homeless returning to the Wash and moving farther east toward Sunland. They leave cars parked on Foothill and jaywalk highways. One drives an ATV. Often they are mentally unstable so leave the area of any disturbance, calling 911 if necessary.
 
How Does LAPD Handle Crime Reports?
Foothill robbery Detectives Heather Wilbur and José Rodriguez gave informative talks. Although the two overlap, Rodriguez primarily covers Pacoima and deals with a higher percentage of street robberies and break-ins, whereas Wilbur covers Sunland-Tujunga, more frequently responding to crimes against vehicles and businesses.
 
Rodriguez explained that new crime reports are computerized, then prioritized by LAPD management by comparative seriousness and possible connections to other crimes or criminals. Reports that enable a quick arrest take priority. Others lag, particularly those of minor crimes, no suspects or no clues.
 
Yet reports are vital; a recent clue dovetailed into an old report and solved a four-month-old assault with a deadly weapon (ADW). To check on progress of your report, call Foothill front desk later in the day at 818-756-8861.
 
Processing fingerprints for a routine crime has a three to four month backlog. To be computer-processed, prints must meet standards of Automated Fingerprint Identification System (AFIS).
 
LAPD's Best Clues
Det. Wilbur has been a Foothill detective for six years and previously patrolled our area ten years. She emphasized that wisely placed, high-quality cameras provide the best clues. Too often, cameras capture only criminals' backs or the tops of heads.
 
Criminals' profiles vary widely here. Even though one just arrived from Mississippi, many robberies involve a personal dispute taken to extremes. Many property crimes are impossible to track because goods are sold within hours to "one of a billion places."
 
Use the Right Word
§  THEFT is any taking of another's property with no intention to return it. (Sneaking the keys and joyriding in Mom's Camaro probably isn't theft!)
 
§  ROBBERY is a violent crime. It means taking something from another through force or fear.
 
§  BURGLARY means entering a structure (even a shed or tent) without permission and with the intent to commit crime. If theft or assault occurs, that's an additional crime.
 
Foothill's response time is good compared to many areas, but we're in a large area with too few police. Response to burglar alarms is slow due to the many steps required: Alarm company must clarify with the owner. Company notifies LAPD Dispatch. Dispatch prioritizes the call among hundreds. A police car comes soon or late, yet burglars are in and out in three to four minutes.
 
Secure your home and vehicles' doors and windows. Keep your car inside a garage or very near your front door. And close your garage!
 
Defending One's Home and Property
Legally, you may only use physical force to protect human life or limb. You can't take a crowbar to the doper sneaking out with your laptop. If she threatens you, rules change. Officers assume an illegal entrant means to harm residents, but this does not protect you against lawsuits. Your goal is to get the possibly-armed criminal—with or without your laptop—far away from you and family ASAP.
 
TV sensationalism notwithstanding, home invasions are extremely rare. They usually evolve from a risky occupation or an expanded personal dispute.
 
Transients' Junk Piles
Expect no help from LAMC's Section 56.11. It was meant to enable LAPD to seize transients' possessions upon arrest to deter hobos from returning. That law has been neutered, then a federal judge issued a stay on it.
 
But please lobby your neighbors to not leave out old couches, chairs, clothes, etc., that homeless collect. Get residents to call 311 and insist on a pickup (free!). The City's bulky pickup function is flawed, so persist. Keep the ticket number they give you for follow-up. If it's a large pile or if the City lags, call your SLO.
 
Speeders!
More residents are videoing license plates of habitual speeders. Relaying these to traffic officer Joel Flores helps him build a strong case against a repeat offender when the perp is eventually ticketed.
 
For now, laser-gun speed measurement can’t be used on Foothill until a traffic survey is updated. Although parking violations are a source of City revenue, the complex court system actually costs the city money for moving violations.

=> Tujunga SLO Contreras: 818-634-0705; 36373@lapd.lacity.org
=> Sunland SLO Caloca: 818-634-0754; 35755@lapd.lacity.org
=> Traffic Officer Flores: 818-644-8142; 30658@lapd.lacity.org 
=> SLOs' office: 818-756-8866
                                        by Jon von Gunten, STNC Rep to LAPD Neighborhood Watch
 
                                         # # #
 


1-19-16
PERSISTENT HOMELESS, NAÏVE OWNERS, AND CITY PHONE NUMBERS TO CALL AND CALL AND CALL
 
On January 19, approximately 30 stalwarts braved blustery weather to attend the6:00 PM Neighborhood Watch meeting in North Valley City Hall. Officer Cesar Contreras introduced Tujunga's permanent new Senior Lead Officer, Gloria Caloca. Caloca had twice earlier met informally with residents, driving to meetings during her time off. This sounds promising!
 
Tujunga residents can reach Off. Caloca at 818-634-0754 or 35755@lapd.lacity.org. Meet her Tuesday morning, February 2nd, 8:30 AM, at the Tujunga McDonald’s, 6510 Foothill Blvd., in the IHOP-CVS shopping center.
 
Of course, call 911 for any emergency. See many additional agency phone numbers below.
 
- Homeless Are Fewer but Persistent
Off. Contreras pointed out that crime is lower this year in Foothills Division. El Niño rains have removed some homeless from our area. Some sought shelters, others moved in with relatives, thus reducing opportunistic crime.
 
The Tujunga Wash now has horse-mounted and off-road units, but they are resources shared citywide. The officers are very well received by grateful citizens, who offer them water, shade and restrooms.
 
Even so, reports come in about encampments, fires, makeshift homes and tree houses. There are rumors of boulders dumped across from the baseball field and unpermitted, makeshift concrete dams, which would be matters for Building & Safety. There was a recent meeting of federal and City officials because the dams retain and retard water flow. Federal Fish & Game has jurisdiction in runoff matters.


A recurring problem in routing squatters is defining boundaries between City and private property. Processes for clearing trespassers off City land are slower than for private land.
 
Do-gooder organizations build or provide unpermitted "micro-homes" for the homeless. You've seen them on overpasses and trailers. They have no sewer hookups and do not require homeless to attend drug/alcohol or job training as City programs may do.
 
- Current Crime and Safety Matters
Recent crime issues include two grand theft auto cases, dope houses, thefts from vehicles, RV street parking, Building & Safety issues and neighborhood conflicts.
 
Thefts from vehicles often demonstrate victims' naïve trust in their environment: iPads, laptops and purses have been stolen from unlocked cars' front seats. Electronics and guns were stolen from an open garage. Criminals trot down streets flagrantly testing each vehicle for open doors.
 
Because the City deems El Niño flooding a certainty, measures to rescue stranded or streaming residents include three helicopters, fire engines, jet skis, kayaks and trained rescue teams.
 
LAPD's body camera rollout is currently on hold.
 
- Agencies to Report To:
On crimes deemed minor, Off. Contreras said you may have to visit Foothill Division in person to fill out the crime report. Although we're encouraged to "report every crime, so LAPD has accurate stats to justify new hires," BOTH Valley Dispatch and Foothill Div's front desk recently refused to send a car to investigate vandalism and theft of apartment plumbing.
 
Report construction violations directly to Building & Safety or Department of Transportation, call 311 between 8:00 AM and 4:45 PM. B&S has a four-month backlog except for special circumstances. However, once the department has delivered a citation, results from owners can be fast. B&S can levy a surcharge on building permits up to 600%!
 
B&S or Department of Transportation may not address issues timely, and their line is often busy. Once you get through, emphatically escalate your request. Call repeatedly.
 
- Save These Phone Numbers!
Police NON-emergency: 877-ASK-LAPD (877-275-5273)
Parking enforcement (blocked driveway or hydrant; double-parked; RV on street for days): 213-485-4184
County Health (health violations on private property): 888-700-9995
City Sanitation (health violations on public property; missed trash pick-up; broken bin): 800-773-2489 (open 24/7!)
Traffic Control (signal light out, etc.): 213-485-4184
Dept. of Water & Power: 800-342-5397
Most City issues: 311
Thanks for your help in keeping all our neighboring towns safer, cleaner and more conducive to family living!
----------------------
Jon von Gunten
STNC Representative to LAPD Neighborhood Watch

 

11-16-15

LAPD NEIGHBORHOOD PROSECUTOR ADDRESSES NEIGHBORHOOD WATCH
— Local crimes drop 50% after Wash cleanup. Can trend persist? —

More than 30 residents attended the rescheduled Neighborhood Watch meeting Monday night, November 16, at North Valley City Hall. LAPD Foothill Division's Neighborhood Prosecutor, attorney Susan J. Chung, ably stepped in when illness sidelined scheduled speaker, Tujunga's new permanent Senior Lead Officer (SLO), Gloria Caloca.

Attorney Chung and Sunland's SLO Cesar Contreras gave updates and answered questions about the recent Tujunga Wash cleanups, the legal do's and don'ts of dealing with criminals among the homeless, street racers, and a variety of other problems. She offers help in the legal side law enforcement. Reach her at: susan.jean.chung@lacity.org But report crimes directly to LAPD.

Proposition 47 was again blamed for neutering the legal system's efforts to rehabilitate addicts. Reduced or no jail terms for drug possession—even minor drug sales—snatched away a legal "crowbar" judges previously used to force addicts into rehab.

50 percent drop in crime follows Wash cleanup!
Following cleanups, SLO Contreras said LAPD were surprised to note a 50 percent drop in local crime from 15/week down to seven. The opposite had been predicted due to expectations that criminals among the homeless would wander the community.

To avoid confrontations and encourage homeless safety during El Niño storms, LAPD and Rangers evicted transients from private property in the Wash before volunteers entered to clean up. LADWP's Lt. Jiménez was lauded for his responsiveness. Reports say friends and relatives picked up many evicted homeless. Some elected to go into shelters.

Four days of cleanups involved nearly 250 local volunteers—some for a day, some all four days—and hundreds of private donations of money and refreshments. The property owner donated heavily for large skip loaders and roll-offs. Assemblywoman Patty Lopez financed two of eight roll-offs. STNC provided chairs, tables, water and easy-ups for shade. Another two roll-offs of extremely offensive human biohazard await a government or professional team. Our cleanup was extensively documented by local newspapers, social media and Los Angeles Times.

Many transients returned to the Wash and new indigents continue to arrive. LAPD or Rangers on ATVs will now help deter squatters.

Evicting homeless from private property
New laws make removing transients and their belongings from public property more complex, but getting LAPD help to remove them from private property takes three simple—if not always speedy—steps:
1. The property owner or manager (not just a concerned resident) must verbally notify the homeless (preferably a few times) that they're trespassing on private property and tell them clearly to leave. (Where ownership is complex, legal trespassing notices may be needed.)
2. If no results, owner/manager calls LAPD stating s/he has notified the vagrants but got no results, and asks LAPD for eviction.
3. LAPD arrive and eject the intruders, usually without incident.

If you see homeless camping behind stores, gas stations, malls, in parking lots, etc., notify the owner/manager and tell them they must notify the transients to leave. Then, if no joy, summon LAPD.

A homeless encampment in Kagel Canyon exemplified complexity. It covered three properties with complex private and federal ownerships. Such situations take longer to resolve, as all owners must be located and advised how to participate.

Transients are a rampant, citywide problem that spills into areas of expensive real estate such as Sherman Oaks and Pacific Palisades. Please remember that not all homeless are criminals and just being homeless is not a crime.

Does LAPD respond to every call?
SLO Contreras asserts, "It's impossible for us not to respond to a call once it's in our system." If officers don't clear a call from their notices, it remains and can escalate to management. GPS units in patrol cars guarantee officers have actually arrived on the scene when they clear it. To follow up on your report, you need an "Incident Number." Get one two days after your report by calling LAPD.

Contreras apologized that low staffing may cause low-priority crimes to take as long as eight hours to receive a car. To get higher levels of police coverage, call and accurately report any significant crime. Verify the report is logged into their system. The more we call in honest and clear crime reports, the more we show LA City purse-strings that we need more police coverage.

Besides LAPD, who ya gonna call?
Residents cited longstanding drug houses or apartments in their neighborhoods. If a criminal is clever enough to avoid police observation, they can often dodge apprehension.

Chung suggested calling Building & Safety (dial 311) to sic an inspector on the property. Multiple property violations probably exist and safety inspectors' citations have legal teeth to enforce cleanup. She said that, in extreme cases, the city can begin a legal process called "abatement" which—if non-compliance is extreme and ongoing—can even force sale of the property.

A resident suggested calling City Public Health, as criminal residents likely disregard hygiene laws. However, put your own safety first! Ask both agencies if and how your name might be dangerously shared with the perpetrators or their attorneys!

We look forward to meeting Tujunga's new permanent SLO Gloria Caloca at informal get-togethers and our December Neighborhood Watch meeting. Officer Contreras knows Officer Caloca from her previous work at Foothill Division and Juvenile Division. He describes her as "hard-working, dedicated and organized."

We look forward to welcoming Off. Gloria Caloca at our December Neighborhood Watch meeting. (Officer Gloria, please take lots of Vitamin C!)

- Jon von Gunten
- STNC Representative to LAPD Neighborhood Watch
 

— POLICING THE FOOTHILLS —
The Neighborhood Watch meeting of October 20, 2015, revealed the frustrating web of factors that baffle local residents and LAPD's Foothill Division. Hearing good news and bad, we aired problems that nearby incorporated communities such as Glendale and Burbank do not suffer.

Nearly 40 attendees learned about LAPD's efforts, difficulties and progress. Yet one resident stormed out, too infuriated to believe an officer's sincere, on-the-spot offers of help. She said her anger stemmed from other agencies and Council District 7 repeatedly failing to rid her family of a purported "heroin addict" living in a City-owned easement through their property.

Guest speaker Lt. Dino Caldera, our new-to-Foothill Division Day Watch Commander, laid out the pros and cons of covering Foothill's 50 square miles. Senior Lead Officers Cesar Contreras (Sunland) and Andy Marr (shortly leaving as Tujunga's SLO) responded to questions and offered advice. Coming from Olympic Division, Caldera has worked here six months.

Those present also mentioned speeding cars, motorcycles and go-carts. Other local complaints include youth smashing beer bottles in streets after drinking at the tops of cul-de-sacs. Park Rangers have shut off equestrian water at newly christened Oro Vista Park after transients broke a flimsy handle, releasing a stream of water. Homeless remain entrenched at the Chevron station near Haines Canyon.

REAL-WORLD BARRIERS TO BETTER ENFORCEMENT
- Crime is slightly higher citywide and in the foothills. Foothill's upticks are primarily in theft from vehicles, home burglaries, and vehicle theft.
- Only one in 300 applicants graduate LA Police Academy. Obstacles include thorough background checks, tough classes and physical fitness demands.
- LAPD brass have commandeered several Foothill officers away to the Metro Division, a quick-response team sent to city trouble spots.
- When a car responds "Code 3"—lights and sirens—arrival at the farthest corners of our area may take 15 minutes.
- Police may let slide minor "arrestable" offenses by a transient because transient arrests pull officers off patrols and emergency response for the four hours needed to process transients' belongings and animals. Homeless know this.
- Officer safety suffers when staffing is low. Unless human life is at risk, should a lone officer pursue suspects into a dark building at night? Officers may wait 15 to 25 minutes for backup while criminals escape out the back.

KEEP READING! THERE'S GOOD NEWS!
- We heartily welcome Tujunga's new SLO Gloria Caloca. She brings her strong backgrounds in youth gang and drug prevention!
- We thank SLO Andy Marr for his eager participation as Tujunga's temporary SLO and for his and the cadets' help in STNC's clean-up campaign.
- Foothill will soon regain two officers and a sergeant.
- LAPD recruiting is ongoing and current.
- Unlike many rougher divisions, Foothill Div. is a popular LAPD assignment with a waiting list of officers wanting to work here.
- Upon leaving Tujunga's SLO post, Off. Marr may transfer to a "homeless car" that will cover all Foothill. Up to four officers are planned for this car.
- A new LAPD substation has been established at Monte Vista Mobile Home Estates in Sunland. Since officers may no longer use North Valley City Hall for a break and paperwork, this office will save a 20-minute commute to the station house. C&M Printing on Commerce offered officers additional desk space and phones.
- Los Angeles Police Protective League (LAPD.com) adds its lobbying power to raise officer numbers and thus increase officer safety.

MORE NEWS ON THE HOMELESS
- It is not illegal to be homeless, unkempt or unbathed.
- It is NOT LAPD's duty to rid us of the homeless; just to arrest them when they commit crimes.
- A shelter bed is nearly always available—somewhere. But the transient must take that bed wherever it is—and then abide by shelter rules and hours, stay sober, and forsake crime. These "limitations" emotionally deter many from getting off the street.
- Therefore, 80 percent of our transients are "homeless by choice."
- It is NOT legal nor safe for private citizens to dispose of a transient's belongings found on City property.
- The five transient shopping carts at Little Landers Park have been removed!

OTHER CONCERNS VOICED
- Why are the homeless drinking in public not cited? (See Four-Hour Rule above.)
- Why don't homeless clean up after themselves? (A few have been seen to do so.)
- Are homeless bussed in? Perhaps a few. LAPD and volunteers reaffirm most of our homeless are local people.
- Absent transients' willingness to accept lodging, rousting homeless from the Wash nudges them onto private properties. More public housing—and convincing transients to use it—seem the only solution.

You can help by accurately notifying LAPD about any significant crime. Insist LAPD write a police report on the crime. Get its number. More police reports help Foothill Division justify more officers here.

# # #

Jon von Gunten
STNC Rep to LAPD Neighborhood Watch

NEXT Neighborhood Watch Meeting is Tuesday, Oct. 20  6-7 p.m. -- Come out and meet our new Senior Lead for Tujunga Andy Marr.  

Report on S-T LAPD Neighborhood Watch meeting, 8-25-15
 
Approximately 35 to 40 residents crowded the S-T Neighborhood Watch meeting in room #104 of North Valley City Hall the evening of August 25th. The date was a week later than the usual schedule and room #104 avoided a conflict with a regular meeting in the auditorium. We welcomed several new attendees!
 
CRIME STATS and ANTI-CRIME MEASURES
LAPD Senior Lead Officer (SLO) Cesar Contreras opened the meeting by citing a slight recent uptick in Foothill Div crime stats. These continually fluctuate, so small month-to-month rises and falls aren't telling. Instead, look for trends up or down over consecutive months. Rises usually track gang activity.
 
Although crime is up in LA broadly, our "0 to 10%" rise in crime is among the safest divisions, with violent crime being very infrequent. In S-T, nearly all crimes are stolen property, often from unlocked residences or vehicles. Pacoima and Lakeview Terrace currently show a rise in gang activity.
 
San Fernando Valley is #1 in California in identity theft, which usually follows mail theft. LAPD's ID theft case load is two years behind due to understaffing. Preventive measures include lockable mailboxes and shredding bills and personal paperwork.
 
Local police presence will increase with uniformed detectives serving warrants and a motorcycle officer enforcing traffic laws.
 
Even so, faster response time is barriered by LAPD management repeatedly reassigning Foothill officers to Metropolitan Division, a force sent to LA's crime hot spots. Tujunga still has no permanent SLO but may soon have a temporary SLO.
 
Be suspicious of parking garages. They are excellent hunting and hiding places for criminals. When inadequately secured, landlords need to put up more fencing, razor-wire, etc.
 
The more you call LAPD to accurately report issues, the more LAPD will routinely drive by your area. Fingerprint techs and officers respond to break-ins. LAPD's computer system is universal throughout LA and nearly instant. Once you have an incident number for your report, it's searchable by address, persons, and several other criteria.
 
TOO FEW OFFICERS:
Insufficient staffing is a large barrier to rapid and ongoing enforcement. Per COMPSTAT, LAPD has less than 9000 officers. One officer per 433 residents is "one of the lowest ratios of police officers to residents of any major city in the country." Problems include:
- LAPD will soon lose more officers to mandatory retirement
- Reassigning Foothill Division officers to Metro Division
- Some new officers graduate LAPD's superior training, then soon resign for higher pay in the suburbs
 
HOMELESS:
Other parts of LA have much worse homeless problems. Their encampments are often much larger and more public. Here, some places of worship provide food, but that practice can divert homeless from more far-reaching programs that require drug diversion or counseling.
 
It's not LAPD's role to jail homeless or harass them for being unsightly. LAPD's job is to prevent crime among all populations. Yet our officers routinely roust homeless from readily visible camping, as they have recently done around Panda, the old KFC and the burnt-out structure on Foothill and Newhome Av.
 
The tougher problem is keeping homeless from returning to an attractive area. In the Wash, some have hooked up solar panels and have long-term living arrangements.
 
Additional challenges to LAPD's policing the Wash are its rugged terrain, need for special equipment, and enough staff. Horses and quads are ideal transportation for that terrain, but officers are required to have special training to use them.
 
Councilman Fuentes' office is very vocal in "fighting for our piece of the pie" in funding and resources. Per an agreement with our Council Office, an LA Family Housing satellite office is scheduled to move into NVCH room #104 within 2-3 weeks. This location should give our homeless more City attention. Its staff will be accessible for our suggestions and complaints about housing and monitoring those now in City housing. LA Family Housing reminds us it cannot control what their residents do when they leave the residence to shop or wander S-T.
 
Many homeless don't want housing. One chronically homeless man now wants housing 8 years after it was offered. Many are local who grew up here, have nearby friends and are comfortable in this area.
 
Thirty-six new staff are coming to LAPD's "SMART" Teams. These two-person groups, composed of one clinician and one officer, handle mental health issues. A mental-health arrest takes 4-5 hours for paperwork.
 
LA County's homeless outreach line for the mentally ill is 800-854-7771 or 213-480-3480. Court Dept. 95 deals with legal matters and disputes regarding the mentally ill.
 
Wow Jam was a permitted event in Sunland Park, which caused no problems and  cleaned up adequately. Fifteen churches participated in handing out free food and services. It was not an LAPD-sponsored event.
 
Public is cordially invited to attend S-T Neighborhood Watch meetings held the second Tuesday of every month at 6:00 PM in the auditorium of NVCH. Entrance is through the rear parking lot at 7747 Foothill Blvd., just east of the public library.
 
— Jon von Gunten
STNC Representative to LAPD Neighborhood Watch

Next Neighborhood Watch Meeting is Tuesday, Sept. 15 at 6 p.m.

Sunland-Tujunga Neighborhood Watch
Meeting DATE CHANGE (August Only)
LAPD SLO Cesar Contreras has verified our next S-T Neighborhood Watch meeting will be held ONE WEEK LATER than usual. 
- New date: Tuesday, August 25 
- Same time: 6:00 PM 
- Same place: Auditorium in back of North Valley City Hall, 7747 Foothill Blvd. Parking and entry in back 
I'll announce the speaker/program when it's defined. 

REMINDER! 
Would you like a hands-on lesson at LAPD's shoot/don't-shoot firing simulator? 
Technically, it's a "Force Option Simulator" (FOS), a life-sized "video game" with laser-light guns! 
This is great fun and very eye-opening to the split-second dilemmas police, sheriffs and CHP face. 
If you want to participate at the FOS, email SLO Contreras at 36373@lapd.lacity.org. 
Time and date TBD once SLO Contreras knows how many participants. 

Please send this info to interested friends and update any relevant websites you manage. 
- Jon von Gunten 
- STNC Rep to Neighborhood Watch

========================
Report from your STNC Neighborhood Watch Rep, May 21, 2015 -- Mark your calendar for the next Neighborhood Watch meeting at North Valley Neighborhood City Hall on June 16, 6 p.m. with our Senior Lead Officers Contreras and Potter.

========================

Next Meeting is June 16 at 6 p.m. Hosted by SLOs Contreras and Potter

Report from your STNC Neighborhood Watch Rep
Jon von Gunten
 
May 21, 2015
Crime citywide is up 15%, but Foothill is up only 5% and only up 0 to 1% in some areas.
 
Proposition 47 immediately released many convicted felons by renaming their felonies as misdemeanors.
 
LAPD's burden of proof to arrest severe. Officers must have at least one of:
- Caught in act by LAPD
- A witness who actually saw a specific person commit the crime
- Clear video of an identifiable person committing the crime
- Corroborating evidence such as stolen or incriminating items indisputably in the possession of a person.
Seeing a man sleeping among a stack of stolen bicycles isn't adequate to arrest. He'll say, "They're not mine. I just sleep here."
 
A typical arrest takes an officer off the street for six hours; up to 12 hours if it's a homeless person who, by legal right, demands his/her possessions be brought in as well.
 
Complaints about very long answer-times at LAPD call centers have been heard. Centers will receive three waves of new graduating classes (18-25 each) of RTOs (radio telephone operators).
 
Call 877-ASK-LAPD for non-emergency police matters. Calls to Foothill Div. front desk reach the officer handling walk-in reports, which can be 7 to 8 people deep. Always call 911 for any crime in progress, fire or danger happening to life or body.
 
Report everything AND get it recorded. The more such reports we have on file, the more City funding we get for officers and cars.
 
The 5/20/15 Neighborhood Watch meeting on the homeless drew 30 people. Officers Trevino and Patton, who staff the recent "transient car" were present and fielded questions. They emphasize it is not a crime to be homeless. Many attendees were upset and noisy, dissatisfied that LAPD is handcuffed by ACLU-driven federal lawsuits that don't hogtie police of nearby incorporated cities. Several times, different officers suggested calling legislators to get laws overturned or amended so LAPD can lawfully be more effective in dealing with homeless and more severe criminals.
 
Upon conviction, LAPD gives a $1,000 reward for information leading to conviction for illegal dumping, vandalism or graffiti.
 




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The March 11 STNC meeting went very long so Board members' monthly reports weren't presented. Below are bullet points from your Neighborhood Watch Representative's recent activity:
  • THE FIRST DUTY of every crime-conscious citizen is to call LAPD to accurately report crime and suspicious activity. State what you see, not what you suppose.
  • Every unreported—or wrongly recorded—crime reduces our number of squad cars and officers. The more meaningful crimes you accurately report, the more cars and officers LAPD will assign us.
  • Vehicle and property break-ins are sharply up this year in the foothills. All other crimes are lower. NEVER leave valuables visible in a vehicle. ALWAYS lock up home and vehicles! Thieves even enter through doggy-doors.
  • LAPD is HIRING!  Cdr. Regina Scott says the budget cuts we hear about do not curtail LAPD hiring to replace officers who retire, take disability, or relocate. Many new officers are needed!
  • Various local newspapers or their sites published this Rep's report on February's Neighborhood Watch meeting. Det. Travis Coyle discussed narcotics and cited several ways Prop 47 will continue to increase criminals on our streets.
  • We are scheduling a meeting with Amanda Mejía, Mayor Garcetti's Representative, along with staff from LA City Attorney, LAPD, a civil attorney, and affected residents to discuss entrenched drug dealers. They sell in the same neighborhood for years by dodging LAPD's usual surveillance and detection. We will explore lawful steps to jail such dealers or end their illegal business.
  • Large-scale indoor marijuana growing occurs in warehouse quantities in the foothills. LAPD recently confiscated 300 pounds and 55 pounds from growers. One clue is constant indoor lighting in a large building that seems not to need it. These farms supply our growing number of illegal marijuana shops.
  • Our popular Senior Lead Officer Vi Potter will be staying with us for many more months! (Yay, Vi!)
  • S-T now has up to four patrol cars. Officers in additional cars will specialize in homeless and business matters.
  • You may have seen this Rep's re-postings on The Sunland-Tujunga Independent Facebook page. ("How to SAFELY Report a Crime" & "15 Pedestrians Killed by Own Carelessness) Please "Like" and "Share" them so they remain visible for more people to see.
  • Jim Moore, STNC's Region 4 Representative, revealed in a PowerPoint presentation that when LA raised trash fees the City promised to increase police coverage. But the City has delivered only a small fraction of the coverage that S-T's $7 million in annual trash fees should buy us. He also stressed that under-reporting and bad recording of crimes short-change our police coverage.
  • Karen and Jon von Gunten completed LAPD's Community Police Academy, a free eight-week course open to the public to familiarize residents with LAPD practices, requirements, hazards, rights and limitations. Instruction was high-quality, interesting, and ended with a brief stint in the Force Option Simulator where students use laser guns to simulate LAPD's real-life "shoot/don't shoot" scenarios. We will soon participate in an LAPD committee.
  • IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO HELP with Neighborhood Watch—in any way—email me at grid@csi.com
  • For police matters, ALWAYS CALL LAPD directly!
 
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