Sunday, July 15, 2007

Things to watch for

Talked with a reserve police officer at my church this Sunday morning and shared with him about our patrol efforts. His suggestions:

(1) definitely let the local LAPD unit know we are out there
(2) trust your instincts about who doesn't seem to belong in the neighborhood
(3) be aware of people or cars who seem to checking out things, people at night who belong in the neighborhood are usually quite purposeful about getting to where they plan to be
(4) be alert to people following cars into underground parking - once in an underground parking lot, a car thief can easily break into several cars and not be observed by anyone


The clear skies pushed the heat upward, leaving a cool tinge on my cheeks. Detective Cary and I entered establishment El Toro Cantina. Inside patrons occupied sporadic tables. Cary approached a tall husky gentleman and whispered the password.

The worker nodded and pointed us outside. We were quickly armed with flashlights and proceeded north on Detroit where we saw suspicious activity #1: a dirty paper bag.

We dismissed it and marched systematically until we reached Cochran. Detective Cary's experience spied the numerous failed streetlights. Coincidence or ploy? Having drilled the same scenario repeatedly, Detective Cary and I proceeded with military precision. Pushing forward, we scanned the area with our lights. "Clear!" declared the Detective. We noted this on our notepad and continued.

2301hrs: Southbound on Dunsmuir. I spotted suspicious activity #2. Lights flickered at the side of a building. Cary and I set up satellite outposts and observed a man with a flashlight; rummaging for recyclables. We regrouped and continued on our beat.

2321hrs: Movement in a dark alleyway. Further inspection revealed the culprits; two rats fighting over garbage.

2345hrs: Secret agent Abby called to check in. She had successfully perpetrated a high priority target and obtained the lethal weapons deemed mission critical: fried chicken and cake.

We exchanged secret hand signals and agreed to reconvene in precisely one month.


Saturday, July 14, 2007

Patrol of July 13, 10pm - midnight

Warm night with lots of dog walkers. El Rey was in session and Busby was busy. We reported to 311 dark street lights: a number of them were out at Cochran and at Hauser.

We were heading home at midnight when a suspicious man walked past Cynthia, Dan and I as we walked north on Cochran. He turned around to follow us and we crossed the street and observed.

Since there was a large number of people still out and about we decided to continue to observe and began calling the police dept and mentioned to people on the streets that there was a suspecious person about and for them to be aware. We observed him for quite a few minutes as he went back and forth along the north side of 6th Street. But we lost him going south on Burnside toward Wilshire. We decided to continue down to Wilshire and go north on Ridgley. The LAPD unit arrived and we described what we observed and they began to drive around to look.

Dan continued north and Cynthia and I went south on Ridgley. We turned east onto Wilshire and I turned to look back and the man was at the corner at the Ralphs and began to follow us east bound on Wilshire. At this point, Cynthia and I were not eager to continue observing and so we sped down Wilshire and headed north onto Burnside when we observed the man in the Smart and Final parking lot heading toward us - was he thinking he could cut us off?

The LAPD vehicle was parked outside the parking lot but the officers were on foot and not in the car. The man saw the car and the gates so he turned away. We saw the officers walking back to their car and we reported what we saw. At that point, Cynthia and I called it a night and we went home leaving the job to the LAPD.


(1) How should we handle such matters in the future?

(2) Cell phone communications is spotty in the area for Cingular. When I called 911 the operator said she couldn't hear me very well and I had to repeat my street locations a number of times. Also since she saw my 818 cell phone number on her screen I'm sure that added to the confusion.

(3) Cynthia and Dan also called 911 and some other numbers we have on file and I don't know what their experience was. But obviously one of our calls worked its way through the system as the LAPD was there in about ... 10 minutes?

(4) We should have some coordination with the LAPD Wilshire on the evenings we are out on foot. Perhaps we could have cut down the response time if we had a more direct link to the local unit in the area.

Anything else that Dan and Cynthia would like to add?

Friday Night Patrol, July 13, 2007 10pm to 12pm

PURSE SNATCH ROBBERY - Cloverdale and Wilshire Blvd @ 1:20am
A man, unknown race, 6'2", wearing a tan performance fleece top and dark pants snatched a woman's purse at Cloverdale and Wilshire. MMSPer Daniel D. heard the woman scream and witnessed the suspect running north on Cloverdale towards 6th street. The LAPD showed up pretty quickly, about 3 minutes by Daniel D's estimation, possibly because they were already patroling the area due to the incident below. It's unknown if the suspect had a weapon.

SUSPICIOUS MAN - 600 block of Cochran Ave @12:15am
Around 12:15am, Rene, Cynthia, and I were walking home in the 600 block of Cochran when we spotted a suspicious looking man. He was about 6 feet tall, Caucasian, handlebar mustache, wearing a black trench coat, pants, shirt and hat. He appeared to be intoxicated, and possibly a vagrant, but he didn't look homeless. He walked south on Cochran and then looked at us, and walked back the way he came, to the north. He then walked west on 6th street on the north side of the street down to Burnside, where he started rifling through the bushes and walked back and forth for about a block, looking in the bushes for something. We called LAPD and continued to follow the man. He noticed us watching him and yelled at us from across the street. He then walked south on Burnside and we lost him around Burnside and Wilshire. LAPD showed up about 3 minutes after we lost him and patrolled the neighborhood. Rene, Cynthia and I split up and walked around the block. Cynthia and Rene were together and spotted the man walking through the Rite-Aid/Smart & Final parking lot. Unfortunately, they lost the man again around Ridgely and Wilshire and by the time Rene told the officers where they saw him, the man disappeared again. At that point the officers continued to patrol but we lost contact with the officers, so I don't know if they found him.

Before the officers, left, they said they were trying to catch a car burglar around Masselin and Wilshire who's been targeting the area and were hoping this was the guy.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

First Weekend Patrol

I patrolled last Friday night with Daniel D. and Rachel. It was a pretty uneventful evening, not many people out. No police or fire department activity in the neighborhood. As a matter of fact, I never saw one police car patrol the neighborhood from 12am to 2am.

One thing worth noting. I think it's a good idea for patrols to walk the alley between Detroit and La Brea Ave from 3rd street to Wilshire, just because I think it would be neglected if I didn't mention it here. Also, Friday night there were 3 or 4 homeless people living/sleeping in that alley, on the La Brea side (east side) of the alley. It struck me that it's possible they may be committing some of the petty crime in our neighborhood ie. breaking into cars. Try to shine a flashlight on their stuff just to see if there's any type of visible stolen property, tools, or broken glass around them.

I also chatted for a bit with the security guard from Busby's positioned on the Northeast corner of Wilshire and Cloverdale. I think it's a good idea to check in with him throughout the night as he is an extra set of eyes and ears for us.

I heard from Denise that the Saturday night patrol stayed together as they patrolled in a group of 5? It seems to me that we can be more effective if we split up in groups of 2 or 3. Obviously we can cover twice the ground if we have 2 groups instead of 1 and we'll also have a bigger presence in the neighborhood. The decision is the individuals patrolling, so I'm just making a suggestion here.

I'm also wondering what people are doing during their patrol. Are you just walking around the neighborhood aimlessly or are you actively looking for crime/suspicious activity? Do you stop and observe people, places, and things and stay stealthy, or do you walk and talk the whole time? I think it's important to focus on our environment when patrolling so that we can pick up subtle clues that a crime has been, is about to be, or is being committed.

I'll share what I do when I patrol:

1. Shine my flashlight into open garages, backyards, side walkways, sideyards, construction sites, and any other dark areas that I can't see into.
2. Look at and shine my flashlight at all parked cars and in the streets for signs of broken windows/glass/vehicle theft signs.
3. Investigate all suspicious persons such as people loitering on the sidewalks or in cars. I usually keep an eye on people from across the street or down the street and I try to be inconspicuous or hidden so they don't know they're being watched.
4. Investigate all suspicious sounds such as tires screeching, horns honking, glass breaking, yelling and screaming, banging sounds, etc.

I think it's important for us to take an offensive and aggressive posture when we are out patrolling. I'm sure that criminals see us first when we're out walking the streets. If they see that we look serious, I think there's a greater chance of them having second thoughts of committing a crime in our neighborhood. If we're walking down the street talking with each other oblivious to our environment, they probably will think we're harmless and wait for us to pass before they commit their crime, or worse, they will target us.

I'm not trying to tell anyone what to do, I just thought I'd start a dialog here so we can all get on the same page, be safe, and make our neighborhood a safer place.

Any thoughts, discussion, or ideas from anyone would be appreciated.

Friday, July 6, 2007

how to use?

i'd love it if someone would clarify the responsibilites of the patrol. will they be providing escort service or is the patrol just doing a general walk around and reporting suspicious activity to the police?

Thursday, July 5, 2007

thanks, dave

let's all give Denise a real BIG atta girl!!!!! if it wasn't for Denise we wouldn't have this patrol. I'm sure with her guidance and enthusiasm we'll make a difference. I'm glad to be a part of this group......Linda B from plb -park labrea

Wednesday, July 4, 2007


Testing. I hope this works! Thanks for creating this Dave. You are awesome.

Miracle Mile Patrol Blog Now Setup

Hello all:

Please use this to post information, patrol experiences or logs, discuss patrol issues, etc....

Remember the first official patrol is Friday night. Please meet at El Toro Cantina(downstairs from Busby's) to get your lights and form your group. Here is a video of Busby's and El Toro Cantina.

Their address is: 5361 Wilshire Blvd, remember to ask for Paul, Paul, or Matt-they will be expecting you.