Burbank-based Coffee Cube had one of its signature red trailers stolen from the startup’s property last weekend, representatives say. The trailer, which Coffee Cube uses as a mobile coffee and pastry bar, was stolen from the business’ headquarters at 2121 Kenmere Ave. sometime between 1 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 5, and 11 a.m. Sunday, Sept. 6, according to Sgt. Derek Green, public information officer for the Burbank Police Department. The trailer was not attached to a vehicle at the time, though the hitch had been locked, according to Jhairo Echevarria, marketing director for Coffee Cube, which operates a store in Canoga Park and offers coffee services to offices.
After hearing from some residents who voiced frustration that the topic hadn’t been discussed, the Burbank City Council will review the possibility of fining people who don’t adhere to face covering requirements. Council members Emily Gabel-Luddy and Timothy Murphy led the push during the panel’s Tuesday meeting to return a report on the subject to the agenda. The matter is scheduled to be discussed when the council next meets on Sept. 15. The report, drafted by the Burbank Police Department, had been placed on the agenda before the council’s Aug. 11 meeting after Councilman Jess Talamantes requested it. But when the meeting began, Talamantes abruptly pulled the item, later saying he “didn’t feel it was the right time to discuss it.”
Last month, reports of crimes committed in Burbank dropped to the lowest levels since April, as some studies argue that the COVID-19 pandemic is driving down certain types of crimes throughout the nation. Overall, reports of so-called Part 1 offenses — a range of violent and property-related crimes — in July dropped about 15.8% from June, from 241 to 203, according to data recently published on the Burbank Police Department website. Last month’s total was also the lowest since April, which had 165 reports of Part 1 crimes. The short-term decrease in incidents, meanwhile, is echoed in a longer-term statistic. With a total of 1,545 reported crimes from January to July, this year is showing the lowest number of offenses since 2013, when 1,508 occurred within the same six-month period. Thefts, by far the most common type of crime occurring in Burbank, also fell 9%, from 143 cases in June to 130 in July.
Police came across the body of a man dead inside a vehicle located in a downtown parking structure at about 3 a.m. on Thursday, according to the Burbank Police Department. From the condition of the vehicle, it appeared that the man, who was in his 50s, was living in his car, said Sgt. Derek Green of the Burbank Police Department via email. A parking control officer found the vehicle in the parking structure at 133 E. Orange Grove Ave., located between the Islands and Kabuki restaurants. There were no signs of foul play, Green said. A dog that was also found in the vehicle was taken to the Burbank Animal Shelter. The man’s cause of death remains unknown, pending a determination by the Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner.
An external audit of the Burbank Police Department commends many of the force’s policies and reforms, though it also suggests improvements to some of its administrative practices.
One of those suggestions, recommending that the department not allow officers to review body camera footage before being interviewed in use-of-force investigations, was already declined by the department — a point of concern to several residents who called during the Tuesday joint meeting of the City Council and Police Commission.
The Office of Independent Review Group analysis of incidents in 2018 praised the BPD’s reforms over the past several years, highlighting the department’s commitment to investigating whenever racial bias is alleged against its personnel, even if the allegation is not at the root of the complaint. Continue reading “Audit Praises BPD, But Disagrees on Body Cams”
Although people across the country usually celebrate Independence Day with fireworks, some in Burbank have been setting off the explosives early this year — except they are illegal.
Sgt. Derek Green of the Burbank Police Department said via email that “estimations are that [fireworks] complaints have about doubled compared to last year.” But some comparisons showed a much greater difference: There were more than 100 firework-related calls in June 2020, compared to only 10 in June 2019.
Green also said that fireworks activity appears to have started much earlier this year than in previous years. Residents have shared worries on social media that the noise from the fireworks could negatively affect people with post-traumatic stress disorder and frighten pets.
“We just don’t know what to do,” resident Robin Randell told the City Council during its Tuesday meeting.
Randell, who called the council during its meeting’s public comment period, said that she represented more than 90 other residents concerned about the use of fireworks, with some members of her group telling her “it’s a war zone.”
Councilwoman Emily Gabel-Luddy added at the meeting that she has received numerous reports about the fireworks, with some residents saying that they’ve seen drivers throw fireworks out of their windows.
Fireworks, included those labeled “safe and sane,” are illegal in Burbank, Green said. Those caught using fireworks can also be held liable for any injuries they cause. Continue reading “Illegal Fireworks Spark Complaints in City”
As with demonstrations around the nation, recent Burbank protests have been driven by a serious purpose: demands for racial justice and police reform. But as a Tuesday march through the city highlighted, there can also be an expression of solidarity through music and movement.
“Things like music connect us every day,” said Benjamin Abiola, an organizer the protest. “Everyone feels that soul in their body, and it just shows people that there’s nothing different between us besides our skin color. And if we can both dance and sing to music, then why can’t we stand in solidarity against people who want to oppress us?”
But even as protesters danced the “Cupid Shuffle” in 95-degree heat, the signs they carried bore grim references to the issue that led to their presence in the street: the recent killings of black people. Continue reading “Protesters Encouraged to Seek Change at Ballot Box”
While protesters marched through the streets of Burbank this week with cries of “Defund the police” and “This is what democracy looks like,” the City Council heard from residents concerned about their local Police Department.
The virtual council meeting took place as protesters assembled in front of the Men’s Wearhouse at the Empire Center, one of several demonstrations that have arisen in Burbank while hundreds have been held across the country to demand police reform and justice for black people killed by officers.
Those demands were echoed at the council meeting, with residents requesting that members review the Burbank Police Department’s budget and use-of-force policies.
However, those matters, which were brought up after a brief report from Chief Scott LaChasse, were not addressed by council members during Tuesday’s meeting.
“It is important for us to be clear and specific right now, because we are at a pivotal moment in history,” said Heather Robb, who called in from the protest to comment at the meeting. “I hope this moment does for Burbank what we see it doing in cities all over our country, causing us to examine and reflect on the role that police play in our communities.”
Robb also asked the council to revisit the department’s budget, saying that the percentage of funds allocated to it does not reflect the community’s values. The department’s $61.76 million general fund budget is about 31% of the city’s total proposed general fund budget for the 2020-21 fiscal year, though city staff members have previously warned that there remain many financial unknowns due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Sgt. Derek Green, public information officer for the BPD, said in an emailed statement that “the Burbank Police Department believes that adequate training and equipping of police officers is essential to public safety and safeguarding our community. Training and equipment comes at an expense. Any reductions in funding would have a detrimental effect on the Department’s ability to continue on its path of progressive law enforcement reform.” Continue reading “Police, City Council Address Oversight Concerns”