Saturday, May 17, 2008

From Vandalism Comes Activism

San Pedro residents from north to south are looking for answers – and solutions – to last week’s vandalism spree that damaged as many as 100 cars.

The morning of May 9 proved expensive and frustrating for dozens of San Pedrans, who awoke to find their car tires slashed or stolen.

A Los Angeles Police Department spokeswoman said police have no leads, suspects or a total number of cars vandalized.

Residents swapped stories at American Tire Co. on Western Avenue, which was overwhelmed by the volume of business.

Cars were vandalized in Pt. Fermin, the Palisades, Vista del Oro and north San Pedro neighborhoods bordering Western Avenue.

Vandals struck nine of the 10 cars along Eileen Barrett’s stretch of Via Sebastian, located east of Western Avenue between Park Western Avenue and Capitol Drive.

Barrett was at home on the night of May 8 when she heard voices outside at approximately 11:30 p.m.

Barrett said it sounded like young people in their late teens laughing and using some type of rolling object such as a shopping cart or skateboard.

If there’s a silver lining to the costly inconvenience Barrett and her neighbors faced, it’s that the incidents were “one way to get this side of the street together.

“It was a good opportunity to meet [Northwest San Pedro Neighborhood Council President] Dan Dixon and to become more active,” said Barrett.

Galvanized by the experience, Barrett intends to get involved in the Northwest council. The grassroots governing body is holding its board election in June and has ongoing openings for committee members.

The Automobile Club of Southern California advises vehicle owners to take preventive measures reduce risks to their cars. Tips include:

  • Put your car in a locked/closed garage. Often, drivers who have accessible garages just leave their cars in the driveway.
  • Install an anti-theft device, whether it’s an alarm or a tracking mechanism
  • Park in a well-lit area
  • Seek out the safest possible place to leave your car

In addition to neighborhood-specific residents associations, community members can take action through San Pedro’s three neighborhood councils. Police officers and aides to Councilwoman Janice Hahn attend the councils’ monthly meetings to answer questions and help advance solutions to crime and other community issues.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The way the LAPD is structured, there may not be any officers in San Pedro during the night.
Odds are there aren't nightly police patrols as in other cities. The police are busy (swamped) responding to urgent calls.

I personally believe police patrols deter crime, and think Chief Bratton (or whoever decides) should rethink things.

My neighborhood has graffiti, drunk driving, illegal fireworks, kids racing around on motocross motorcycles, etc. almost every night. That is because they know there are no police here, unless someone were to call in a request for service, and even in that case LAPD officers are probably busy with shootings, etc.

I would urge anyone who agrees with me that we deserve a higher police presence at night as a crime deterrent to write an actual letter to LAPD Harbor Division, Chief Bratton, Councilwoman Hahn, the newspapers, your Neighborhood Council, etc.

Anyone agree?