Nothing can ruin a day in Griffith Park like returning from a hike, round of golf or a trip to the observatory to find your car has been burglarized.
The Los Angeles Police Department and City Councilman Tom LaBonge, 4th District, have launched a campaign aimed at reducing the number of auto break-ins and thefts in the park, and new signs have gone up warning visitors to “Lock It, Hide It, Keep It”. The signs are located in the park’s recreational areas in Vermont Canyon near the Greek Theatre and the Griffith Observatory, as well as near the Los Angeles Zoo, the areas around the playground and merry-go-round, and the municipal golf courses. Authorities said auto burglaries and thefts have increased in the park this year — with 75 occurring from January through July compared to 56 during the same period in 2012. Since the warning signs went up on July 29, however, there has been only one auto burglary reported, said Capt. Jeffrey Bert, commanding officer for the LAPD’s Northeast Division, which patrols the park.
“It shows people are looking,” Bert said. “When they see the signs, it hardens the target. It makes people more aware, and it lets the would-be criminals know that they are being watched.”
Bert said the areas in the park where the most auto burglaries and thefts occur are the parking lots for the Los Angeles Zoo, and the lots around the golf courses and picnic areas. The trailheads around the Griffith Observatory are also “hot spots.” Bert added that they are crimes that are “totally preventable” if people hide their valuables out of sight and lock their vehicles. The most common items stolen are iPhones, as well as laptop computers and other small electronic devices. Bert said thieves also frequently break into vehicles to steal spare change left in ashtrays and consoles.
“Thirty percent of the thefts [this year] occurred in vehicles that were left unlocked,” Bert said.
LaBonge added that it is important for people to remain vigilant.
“Someone will walk by and in just a second take the property. It’s a crime of opportunity,” LaBonge said. “The park is safe. I personally hike in the park every day, but unfortunately, things happen in an urban area, and I want to prevent that.”
In addition to officers from the LAPD’s Northeast Division, Griffith Park is patrolled by rangers from the city’s Department of Recreation and Parks.
For information or to report suspicious activity, call the LAPD at (323)344-5701, or the Park Ranger Office at (323)644-6661.
This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.