Thank you to our great Neighborhood Watch organizers who put together a very organized and informative meeting with Police Chief Jeff Kepley at the Valmonte School on Thursday evening. For those who were there, I’m sure you agree that while it was a bit unnerving to learn about the recent burglary crime spree in Palos Verdes Estates, it was also a great opportunity to learn how we can help keep these scumbags out of our homes and beloved neighborhoods. I will highlight some of the key points discussed during the meeting below, but in general the Chief shared facts about who has been committing these burglaries, how they are finding their targets, and what can be done to help deter crime at your house and in your neighborhood. Chief Kepley was also very clear about one thing “if you are a burglar, we will hunt you down like a dog and put you in jail.” Apparently the message has gotten out, as burglaries have declined significantly since the spike in December. Kudos to the PVE Police Department!
Summary of the topics discussed:
- Recent wind storms – use this as a reminder to get prepared for the next natural disaster. Have a plan in place, with emergency food and water so the next time you are ready.
- Bay Boys – the Chief made it clear that illegal activity will not be tolerated along our coastline and in the surf
- Helicopter manhunt – RPV incident – helicopter was useful in helping locate 3 burglars using infrared heat sensing detectors
- Communication – the PVE Police department is trying to quickly communicate useful information to residents using Nixle and Nextdoor (join now)
- Burglaries increased from an average of 35-50 each year to over 80 in 2015, but it’s already on the decline for 2016
- The criminals are operating like an organized cartel with 3-4 burglars to a team, being dispatched from a central crime boss. They are driving nice cars and doing quite well stealing from our hardworking neighbors. They must and will be stopped.
- 40% of burglaries are preventable – lock your doors, keep valuables out of sight in your vehicles, and see more of the tips below.
How to prevent burglaries and crime at your home and in your neighborhood
Larry Manth, PVE Neighborhood Watch President, shared a great acronym to help us remember what we can do to keep our neighborhoods safe: LOCK – Look, Observe, Call, and we all need a Mrs. Kravitz in our neighborhoods to keep an eye on things. Chief Kepley reminded us that all these criminals have a map to your home on their cell phones – they will come to our neighborhoods, our job is to make it hard for them to succeed. He suggested the following tips to keep burglars out of your home
- Call 310-378-4211 to report crimes or suspicious behavior
- Fortify your home – lock side gates, install better deadbolts, install exterior lighting with motion sensors
- If you are away, make your home look occupied with lights on timers, leave a TV on, turn on a radio, have a neighbor check on your home
- Close your garage doors and lock your doors
- Install alarm systems with glass break sensors and infrared night vision cameras (if you have a camera system, you can register it will the PVEPD for help in providing information in the event there is a break-in in your neighborhood)
- If you are on vacation, fill out a vacation alert with the PVEPD
- Perform a home security assessment to see where your home is vulnerable
- Hide your jewelry before the crooks steal it and melt it down never to be recovered (most break-ins only take 3 minutes)
- Don’t leave packages on your front porch, make other arrangements
- Install anti-theft dots (a personal microscopic id tag for your belongings) on your valuables
- Cars: keep them locked and keep valuables out of sight, including your garage door opener
- Do we have sufficient staffing for the increase in crime? Chief Kepley – the department relies on mutual aid from surrounding agencies and officers are on overtime for burglary suppression and surf spot checks
- Are safes a good thing to have? CK – burglars have been known to steal 300 pound gun safes or rip wall safes out of the wall. Good hiding spots are better than safes.
- How can I get more involved? Join neighborhood watch, become a block captain; you can become a volunteer police officer; or volunteer in many other ways through the city.
In general, it’s important to appreciate that we live in a very safe neighborhood. But don’t take our security for granted. Take the necessary steps to ensure the safety of your family and your home. Be prepared. And if you have some extra time or energy, help a neighbor out, especially our older Valmonte neighbors who live alone and don’t have family nearby to look after them.
See you in the neighborhood!