The mood was laid-back but the topics were undeniably serious when the Crescenta Valley Sheriff’s Station commander briefed La Cañada Flintridge residents this week on his deputies’ priorities.
Capt. Todd Deeds said the station is focusing on preventing residential burglaries in La Cañada Flintridge in the wake of a twofold increase.
The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department is assisting its local station with beefed-up patrols, while the department’s major crimes division is working closely with detectives in trying to solve the crimes, he said after a recent “Coffee With the Captain” event at the Community Center of LCF.
“Everyone realizes there’s a problem and we’re trying to stop these guys,” Deeds said after the event. He also discussed the issue with residents who, coffee or water cup in hand, engaged him individually as they dropped in to chat Tuesday morning.
Local crime statistics in August showed that residential burglaries had nearly doubled this year compared to last, with 69 reported residential burglaries for the year’s first eight months compared with 35 during the same period of 2018.
There were 11 residential burglaries in September, as well as a robbery in which a couple came home and found the suspects inside their residence and a struggle ensued, Deeds said by phone on Wednesday. He added that a man was arrested for impersonating a police officer on Sept. 16, saying deputies caught the suspect in the act just above Angeles Crest Highway.
“That was a good one,” he said of the arrest.
In October, there have been two residential burglaries, the captain said.
“Let’s hope it stays that way,” Deeds said.
About 20 people attended the Community Center-hosted event from 10-11 a.m. on Tuesday.
LCF resident Michele Nelson was one of the attendees. She said a home in her neighborhood was broken into a couple of weeks ago, but declined to reveal where for safety reasons.
“They were very responsive,” Nelson said about law enforcement. “I think they’re doing a wonderful job and I really appreciate all the work they did.”
Nelson said her husband was able to obtain a low-resolution photo of a van involved, and the neighbors whose home was broken into were able to get a picture of the suspects. She was doubtful the crimes would be solved.
“We’re doing everything to cooperate and [the Sheriff’s Department is] doing everything to prevent the burglaries in the area, but it’s the way life is,” Nelson said. “You can’t sit around your house 24/7. I really appreciate everything they’re doing. They’ve caught people who have not had a front license plate on Sunday and they gave out numerous tickets. My husband called them up to tell them how appreciative we were of it and we wave to them all the time.”
Resident Kristin Radcliffe, who moved to LCF in July, said she enjoyed the informal nature of the event.
“I probably won’t go to the police station [to talk with law enforcement], so this seemed like a welcoming opportunity to meet some neighbors and our captain,” Radcliffe said.
Deeds said the event gives law enforcement a chance to speak to residents about their problems and possibly solve them.
“Most people don’t get a chance to voice their concerns, and some people obviously are very appreciative of the services of our deputies and what they’re doing,” Deeds said. “Events like this are good.”
Radcliffe, who also declined to give the name of her street because of safety concerns, said she and her neighbors all watch out for one another.
“We all talk to each other,” Radcliffe said. “They say, ‘Hey, I’m going out of town for a couple of days’.”
Peter Wannier, longtime owner of the Flintridge Bookstore & Coffeehouse, said he wanted to make sure Deeds knew about cars not making a complete stop at Gould Avenue and Paulette Place.
“It’s an odd intersection,” Wannier said after he met with the captain. “I mentioned it and hopefully he takes some action. It’s dangerous when people blow past the stop sign … it’s a safety issue.”
Wannier said he liked the format of the event.
“It’s nice to have an informal thing like this and not have to write a letter,” Wannier said. “It’s an informal conversation.”
Maureen Bond, executive director of the Community Center, said she was happy with the response to the event and was making plans for another.
“It was great,” Bond said.