Opinion: What’s Up about the Surge in Assaults on WeHo Streets?

Two armed men, left, approach a man walking his dogs on Wetherly Drive.

My evil Uncle John was a “police reporter” early in his long journalism career and filled a column every day with the criminal antics of his city. John’s reporting was rather dull, pedestrian and dry, but some of the local lads still used its items as part of their resumes. Looking back, those days were rather calm compared to what we see today. Crime seems a lot more personal now.

In Boston, my former home, one of the most anticipated weekly newspapers was the Midtown Journal. It was produced by a man with a most wry sense of humor and a good observer of the human animal at its most ridiculous level as he gleaned his material from the daily police blotters at several precinct houses. Often, because of the details reported, his pieces were offered by both defense lawyers and prosecutors as “something more than hearsay evidence”. I can’t believe any judge would accept it seriously. Few recall that weekly report but I do wish we could look upon the misdeeds of our fellows in the same way as the Midtown Journal did. Unfortunately, we cannot.

My own time, albeit as a military police investigator, on the streets of London (UK) was a mélange of every cockeyed action one could imagine. Nevertheless, it allowed me to wander from outright comedy to pathos and even to horror. A difficult but intriguing way to learn so many of life’s lessons, yet invaluable to one who wishes to manufacture fictional stories about his fellow humans.

Of late, (the past several weeks, that is) in our local police reports, a surge in physical attacks on the streets of West Hollywood have caught my notice. Just a week ago there were nine such listed – take away the two domestic violence reports and there are still nine involving strangers. Car burglaries and petty thefts are part of big city life, even more so prior to cityhood. House burglaries are largely crimes of convenience in that an unlocked door or a window ajar invites the small time crook wandering the streets looking for such invitations. (My own house was hit twice in the late 1970s.) One sheriff captain said that West Hollywood was like a candy store. But, as far as I can recall, physical assaults were rare and limited to a few bars on Sunset and Santa Monica. (My own favorite saloon, Sloan’s, was selected by a gentler crowd intent upon each other’s company and the 95 cent shot of good whiskey.)

The city seems more crowded now, the streets busy with automobile traffic all day and night – not so many walkers. More bars, more clubs, restaurants and opportunity for mischief, it appears. But, who are the people doing the assaulting? Are they random visitors to our “party city”? Are they some of the homeless men we see on stolen bicycles? Are they cruising thugs who use strong arm tactics in their street robberies? Is it possible to know how many have been apprehended?

The times of several such incidents were during daylight hours on busy streets, while the majority were late at night near busy venues. It should not be such a mystery – or, am I looking in the wrong places? Our sheriff and Public Safety people need to provide more information for the citizens. Perhaps an expanded weekly column on this website from an official source would better enlighten us. It doesn’t have to be humorous.

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Dayton
Dayton
5 years ago

I wish we had more of a positive police presence. I have never seen the Sheriff’s ever interacting with the community. Increase foot patrol, bike patrol or just overall general presence. The city CAN afford it.

Elle
Elle
5 years ago

From just reading the crime reports/news (and from some unfortunate personal experience), the robbers are never apprehended, not scared of being apprehended (they usually commit 2 – 4 robberies in a night before leaving), and they do not live in WeHo — they come here because we’re easy targets, and then they leave right after (or after committing a string). When I was robbed on the street in WeHo, my cell phone was traced shortly afterwards to Compton and my driver’s license was found by somebody in Compton. I think it would be great and effective if there were sheriffs… Read more »

Joshua88
Joshua88
5 years ago

WeHoboy – it would seem the city is tight-lipped because there is no further information or if caught, s/he hasn’t gone through the criminal process. I don’t read these often enough to know if anybody posts follow-up stories. Do you have links that assert that poor people who live in affordable housing (to which, I assume, they would lose access if convicted of a crime) are committing crimes and that it is a “known occurrence?” The truth must be backed up with facts. So must your ridiculous claims about Trump. Do you think that his AHCA and tax breaks for… Read more »

KRN
KRN
5 years ago

We have a homeless problem in West Hollywood! Stop giving homeless people money. I believe 98% of WeHo’s homeless are drug addicts & mentally ill. DONATE substantially to the Greater Los Angeles Food Bank, and one or more of the missions or other agencies in the area, on a monthly auto pay account. There are professionals that will assist them with longer term help. By giving them cash, you are enabling their substance abuse and are harming them. By giving them cash, you are also encouraging them to remain in the area where they participate in crimes of opportunity. I’ve… Read more »

WeHoboy
WeHoboy
5 years ago

Is there a reason for the city being so tight lipped about who is doing this. Are the evil ones perhaps the affordable housing residents in our city? This is seen around the country and is a known occurrence. Ignoring it will make it worse and the taxpayers of the city deserve better!! Get the cops out and start protecting the people. Time to get proactive. If you build low income housing they will come. Be ready, be responsible, be smart, not PC. That includes posting this comment. The truth must be dealt with, not ignored.

WeHoboy
WeHoboy
5 years ago

What’s up with….Really, this is a no brainer! The economy is the reason. More and more crime everywhere with the cops “afraid” to do their jobs for PC reasons. President Trump’s programs will create jobs to improve the situation and tough cops and laws to back them up will also help.

Gary Wallen
Gary Wallen
5 years ago

Unrelated to my first comment, but related to the humor point, I regularly read the blotter which used to be printed in the Independent. My favorite item of all time was the report of a man walking on sidewalk, approached from behind by an unknown male who demanded the guy’s wallet “…while stimulating a weapon in his pocket with his hand.” -that one I mailed in to Jay Leno !

Gary Wallen
Gary Wallen
5 years ago

Mike makes some important points -except reportage, which, while I agree very much that it needs to be given far more widely available, regular reporting, those who’ve actively pursued following the blotter reports over the long term have generally been able to find them. WeHo doesn’t have foot patrols but does have the Security Ambassadors (on bicycles) program. It seems they, together with traffic div. meter patrols could both be given more funding -with closely co-ordinated supervision, to provide more active eyes & wider coverage than the same amount spent on far fewer sherriff patrol officers.

Susan Pinkus
Susan Pinkus
5 years ago

Why doesn’t the WH sheriff’s department consider cops walking the neighborhood. I was brought up in NY and you saw cops everyday walking their “beat”. They understood the their neighborhood, they would have a sense of what is outside the norm and you had a relationship with the police on your street. You felt safer and it helped deter crime.

Mike
Mike
5 years ago

A lot of different factors at play here. Let’s take a look some of them. 1. West Hollywood has become a much more affluent city! Rents are rising astronomically. So what you have is a lot of people driving around in Range Rovers with $5,000 purses and $2,000 sunglasses in plain sight of passerby. They park their car, they don’t hide their stuff, and the window gets smashed and their stuff taken. This also means that potential thieves know that people are going to be walking around expensive stuff, which leads me to my next point… 2. Cell phones! Because… Read more »

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