According to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, crime in West Hollywood has risen a troubling 137 percent compared to the same time last year.
February 2022 saw roughly 250 “Part One” crimes reported, including murder, rape, burglary, aggravated assault, arson, and human trafficking. There were 105 such incidents reported in February 2021, KTLA reports.
This number also marks the highest monthly total of crimes classified as “Part One” since LASD began recording those statistics.
Crimes were up 123 percent, 66 percent, and 31 percent in the Westside, City Center, and Eastside respectively. Part One crimes accounted for 58 percent of the Westside, 22 percent of the City center, and 31 percent of the Eastside.
“We continue to conduct our saturation patrols, plain clothes operations and other types of operations with the LAPD and entertainment policing team,” an LASD representative told commission members, according to the Los Angeles Blade.
The rep. added that they have been “focusing on the Westside, because a large number of thefts have been occurring there.”
WeHo has earned a reputation for being plagued by pickpockets. There’s even a sign at neighborhood favorite Rocco’s which reads, “Pickpockets are stealing phones in the WeHo area. Keep aware and do not store your phone in your back pocket. Watch your purses and keep them closed at all times.”
Good advice, as pickpockets have been targeting WeHo restaurants, bars and other nightlife destinations. The LASD West Hollywood Station said 34 stolen cellphones had been reported in WeHo in February, though it noted that many cases go unreported. The Sheriff’s Department categorizes the stealing of a cellphone as grand theft.
On the night of Feb. 5, five phones were stolen on the 8900 block of Santa Monica Boulevard. Another ten phones were lifted in the same area the following weekend.
Kate, who says she had two phones swiped at Rocco’s in a two-month period last year, tells Los Angeles, “Rocco’s does what they can with making announcements, but they obviously need to take further action as it seems they are not doing enough.” She added, “The second time was mind-boggling; I took my hand off my bag at the bar for two seconds and when I looked back my phone was gone.”
Of the 34 reported stolen phones in February, three suspects were arrested, with only two of them being classified as pickpocket suspects.
“The only reason why you’re gonna come this far, into this neighborhood, is because either a) you believe you’re gonna get away with it, or b) you’re not gonna get punished for it and the stats are showing that,” security expert Russell Stuart, owner of Force Protection Agency, told KTLA.
Stuart added that he believes gangs are behind the crimes, sending younger criminals to carry out their requests in a response to L.A. District Attorney George Gascon not punishing minors.
Stay on top of the latest in L.A. news, food, and culture. Sign up for our newsletters today.