Susan Niven was a bit frantic—at first—just after she got the call Wednesday afternoon that her Studio City home was burglarized. She couldn’t get her husband on the phone. And, her three-month-old Labrador mix puppy was missing.
“My heart was pounding for a while there, but then I found out that my husband was not at the house, and neither was the puppy,” Niven said. “They are fine.”
Her 21-year-old nephew, however, was home, and the burglars broke through the front door at 2 in the afternoon in broad daylight at the house on Wortser Avenue. The police were there in minutes.
This is the fourth home burglary in the past two weeks in the Studio City area west of Coldwater Canyon Avenue and north of Moorpark Street, and Los Angeles Police Department Senior Lead Officer for said, “Most of the burglaries in the area are happening during the day. People knock at the door and see if you are home, and if you aren’t then they break in.”
The discussion Wednesday night was held at the) sponsored by Watch 2.0 () and Alan Taylor. from Los Angeles and Julie Monroy, the recreation coordinator of the Studio City park were also in attendance and spoke to the 50 local residents concerned about crime.
“You can’t stop someone from coming in if they want to,” Lewis advised, “but you can make it harder for them.”
The LAPD officer pointed out that most burglars are looking for money or jewelry and go directly to the master bedroom and bathroom to look for that.
At Niven’s house she pointed out that two computers and a camera were left alone. Niven, who works with troubled youth in Culver City, said she is now waiting for police to fingerprint parts of her house. She said she did have an alarm in the house, but it wasn’t set at the time.
Although Studio City remains one of the safest areas in all of Los Angeles, Lewis said, “There are more break-ins here because this is the area where the diamonds are and the Rolexes are.”
Another recent scam occurred when a worked offered to help an 81-year-old Studio City woman with some yardwork. While she was showing him what to do in the backyard, someone else was stealing from her house through the open door.
“The suspect was a white male in his 40s and a white female who went through the unlocked door and took jewelry and other property,” Officer Lewis said. “There are hundreds of males and females out there now working the same scam.”
One woman who has a local email list of 1,000 residents, Seraphine (which you can also join at firstname.lastname@example.org), said after she notified the list of the gardener scam, she heard from one of the people on her email list.
“He said he was thankful that he read the email because he was going to let someone do the same thing and do some gardening in the back and he said ‘no,’ but that the same thing could have happened to him,” said Seraphine.
Nevertheless, Officer Lewis points out that Studio City and all of Los Angeles is the safest in violent and nonviolent crimes in a long time and have fallen to 1957 levels.
“In the 11 years I have worked in Studio City I have never seen it so low,” Lewis said. “When I started there were about 40 burglaries a month. In March, there were 8.”
Lewis said the local area’s incredible Neighborhood Watch networking and Internet lists like Watch2.org and Patch.com is getting the word out to people.
“People get paranoid because they hear about all the crime, but we are getting the word out easier because of the social networking, and the reality is that it is much safer,” Lewis said. “I am lucky that I have this group of you out there watching and being the eyes and ears for us in the police department.”
Lewis added, “It is not a coincidence that I have such a good Neighborhood Watch network and that month after month we have a decrease in crime. Do we have nosy neighbors? Yeah, but people are protecting each other.”
The police officer said he talks to the burglars he arrests and said, “Most of them are looking for money to buy drugs, they want it for dope. It’s fast fast money.”
Meanwhile, for one of the break-in teams, police are looking for two white males driving a 2010 white Mercedes with a paper license plate. Officer Lewis is at 818-634-2593