Police Advise to Beware of Residential Burglary Tactics

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A surge in residential burglaries is prompting the Long Beach Police Department to alert the community so that they can learn about a ploy suspects are sometimes using to target homes, to learn what preventive measures can be taken, and to remind residents to report suspicious activity without delay.

During the first quarter of 2013, there were 711 reported residential burglaries city-wide, a 35.4% increase when compared to the 525 residential burglaries reported during the first quarter of 2012. Through LBPD’s efforts, 63 adults and 21 juveniles were arrested for residential burglary during the first quarter of 2013.

Recent investigations have determined that various groups of suspects, including juveniles, have been going door-to-door and knocking or ringing the doorbell, in hopes of learning that no one is home. When the suspects get no response at the door, they proceed to enter the home. On some occasions, the suspects have forced entry, where in other cases they have entered either through open doors or windows, and have stolen items including jewelry, electronics, musical instruments, money, and paperwork used for identity theft. A few of the suspects have targeted locations with back houses because they have found that most often there is an unlocked door or window and many are not alarmed.

In mid February, while conducting an investigation, Signal Hill police arrested 23-year-old Alisha Tapia and 28-year-old Chhin Phon, both residents of Long Beach, at a Signal Hill motel. It was determined that Tapia and Phon were both on probation, and were subsequently arrested for possession of stolen property after items taken in a Long Beach residential burglary were found in their possession. Tapia was on probation for burglary, while Phon was on probation for a weapons violation, and each of them with an extensive criminal arrest record. LBPD Burglary detectives worked collaboratively with the SHPD, presented the case to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office, who filed nine counts of residential burglary against Tapia and two counts of residential burglary against Phon.

Other more recent examples include the following incidents:

On March 13, 2013, in the 1300 block of West Burnett Street, two male subjects were observed attempting to gain access to a residence through the front door. When that failed, they jumped the fence into the backyard and entered the house through an open window. Police arrived and one of the subjects fled the area on foot. Police arrested the 17-year-old Long Beach male a short distance away with the assistance of the police helicopter. The second male suspect remains outstanding.

On March 14, 2013, in the 6000 block of Elm Avenue, 18-year-old Tievon Harmon of Compton was arrested after a neighbor called 9-1-1 regarding a suspicious person and Tievon was observed by police running out of the house that he had just burglarized. The loss from that burglary was returned to its owner.

On March 19, 2013, in the 6300 block of Colorado, two male subjects were knocking on the front door of a residence. When they didn’t get a response, they attempted to gain access through a side gate. Unsuccessful, they returned to the front door and kicked it in. They fled the area on foot when they realized the resident was home and both suspects remain outstanding.

“The suspects responsible for these burglaries do not fit any one set of characteristics. Their ages range from early teens to individuals well into adulthood, their physical descriptions vary, and their ethnic backgrounds differ. These burglars can look like anyone, which is why it’s so important for community members to call 9-1-1 when they see anyone or anything that appears suspicious,” stated LBPD Burglary Detail Sergeant Robert Woods

Curfew Enforcement:

The Long Beach Police Department takes curfew violations seriously and would like to remind parents that Section 9.58.010 of the Long Beach Municipal Code states: “It is unlawful for any minor under the age of eighteen (18) years to remain in or upon any ‘public place’ as defined in Section 9.02.090, between the hours of 10:00 p.m. until 6:00 a.m. the following day.”

The Long Beach Police Department takes curfew violations seriously. Our experience has shown us that children/youth who are on the street after curfew are more likely to become victims of violent crime, and also are more likely to become involved in criminal behavior.

Additionally, the Long Beach City Prosecutor’s Office will continue to enforce its Parent Accountability and Chronic Truancy (PACT) Program, a collaborative effort with the L.B.P.D and the Long Beach Unified School District. Under this program, parents and legal guardians can be criminally prosecuted for “contributing to the delinquency of a minor” if they fail to supervise their children and the children disobey the law or any lawful order of the juvenile court. Another component of the program is parental prosecution in cases where children fail to regularly attend school and are deemed “chronic truants.” The City Prosecutor will be taking a serious look at potential cases and strictly enforcing the laws pertaining to the delinquency or truancy of a minor.

Residential & Garage Burglary Prevention and other tips:

  • Participate in your neighborhood’s Community Watch Program by contacting your division’s Patrol Resource Officer (PRO)
  • Keep your doors and windows locked at all times
  • Meet your neighbors; this makes it easier to recognize a person that doesn’t belong and neighbors that communicate are more likely to look out for one another
  • Report loitering, which is often a precursor activity for burglars, enabling them to case the area
  • Immediately report suspicious activity by calling 9-1-1, and be sure to get a good description of any subjects or vehicles
  • Keep shrubbery trimmed down around your home to prevent hiding places
  • Keep gates to backyards locked at all times
  • Request a free “vacation check” by contacting the Senior Police Partner volunteers at (562) 570-7212
  • Be sure your house number is visible from the street so police or emergency personnel can locate your residence quickly
  • Install motion sensor lighting around your property, including on garages that may face alleyways
  • Consider installing surveillance cameras around your home, which could serve as a deterrent or lead to suspect identification
  • When away for extended periods, make sure your home has the “lived in” look – have lights on timers, ask a neighbor to park in your driveway, make arrangements for newspapers, mail, and fliers that may accumulate
  • Never advertise on social media sites when you will be away on vacation
  • Keep garage doors locked and closed at all times; open doors allow potential suspects to take inventory of the contents of your garage
  • Take note of serial #’s on electronics, and engrave other valuables with your driver’s license # and photograph so property can be identified and returned to owner if stolen

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