Around 160 residents from Mar Vista and Venice gathered at the Penmar Park Recreation Center Tuesday night, to receive an update from the LAPD on the .
Chris Williams, co-chair of the Penmar Neighborhood Association told Patch the crowd was one of the largest he has seen at community crime awareness meetings.
Williams spoke briefly to attendees about emergency preparedeness before introducing Mar Vista Senior Lead Officer Drake Madison.
Madison told attendees that a South L.A. gang known as the Rollin' 30s (a set of the Crips), has been moving into the area and is believed to be behind the recent string of daytime burglaries in the neighborhood.
“They ring doorbells,” Madison said, adding that they may say they thought the house was a friend's if residents open the door. “Sometimes you will see them hanging out in cars," he added. "They’re young, male, black gang members between the ages of 17 and 27.”
Nonetheless, Madison said people shouldn’t single out young black males because of their race.
"This is not what this is all about,” he said. Rather, he noted, residents need to be on the lookout for suspicious activity, such as individuals looking around nervously; groups splitting up; and/or individuals heading into people’s backyards.
He also recommended residents join neighborhood watch groups or simply get to know the neighbors living in their community.
In addition, Madison described measures residents can take to help deter burglars, such as locking side gates and trimming hedges around windows to increase visibility.
He also urged residents to call 1-877-ASK-LAPD to report any suspicious activity. However, some residents complained that when they called the operator questioned their ability to discern what is truly suspicious.
Madison recommended residents mention his name when calling. He also advised them to tell the dispatch operator that they’re involved with their neighborhood watch and have taken part in meetings, such as the one at the recreation center.
Following the meeting, Mar Vista resident Danielle Ezra said it was the first time she had attended a community crime awareness meeting.
“I was really happy to see so many people from the community participate,” she said.