About two weeks ago, my sister noticed something odd in the street outside a house we rent in Los Feliz. A strange guy who wasn’t a familiar face in the ‘hood drove up in front of the house and parked this big shiny late-model pickup truck with a huge dent in the side… and no plates. No plates on the front, no plates on the rear.
He parked it in such a way that the trash cans for this building couldn’t be removed from the side of the house and placed out on the streets for collection — so, because it was in the way, and because it sat there for days, and because the no plates thing was weird, we called the parking enforcement line and the police non-emergency line. Four times. Each time we were told that an officer would be sent out, but nobody came.
Finally, 7-10 days after the initial call, a parking enforcement officer shows up today, runs the VIN (vehicle identification number), and — suprise — yep, it’s a stolen vehicle.
But here’s the punchline. “Don’t expect LAPD to show up and tow right away, because there aren’t enough cops in LA to make nonviolent crimes like this a priority,” he tells me. “If the police aren’t here by, say, Tuesday, I’d suggest you call again.”
So we have a stolen truck sitting in the street for almost two weeks, and a witness who saw the suspect park it, and even after the crime has been identified, we should anticipate another 48 hour delay before LAPD responds? What if the thief decides to come back to our house, say, late tonight when nobody’s looking, and drive the truck away? The owner never gets their truck back, and there will no longer be any chance of nailing the thief.
The fact that stolen property has been sitting in front of *my* property for this long — and the fact that the thief knows it’s a safe place for him to dump his shit — man, that gives me a nice warm fuzzy safe feeling. I mean, I just want to run out into the street and HUG some motherfucker right now, it makes me feel so good.
The parking officer was a really nice guy, and he’s doing his job as best he can — as are many of the LAPD, I’m sure. But something’s seriously broken in this city if it takes two weeks for a stolen vehicle to be retreived and reported, after multiple proactive calls from concerned residents. We need more cops. If anyone’s capable of fixing this, it’s Bratton — but fixing this is all about more cops on streets.
Update: A friend suggested calling the local precinct to talk to an officer responsible for our ‘hood. I did, and asked to speak to a supervising officer… after a few rounds of discussion and a few short hours’ time, I’m very happy to say that The Man towed the vehicle away and filed a report. Sweet! Turns out it’s been missing for months, and belongs to some dude in Stockton. I kinda want to rig up a little hidden wireless cam on the spot in case the thief comes back. I’d love to capture the look on his face when he returns to discover that his stolen truck has been “stolen.”