DPS disputes report of gang burglaries
Posted February 27, 2013 at 11:53 pm in News
Recent Los Angeles reports of âflockingâ crimes surrounding the university are being met with contradictory evidence from the Dept. of Public Safety and the Los Angeles Police Department.
Gina Silva, a reporter with Fox 11 News in Los Angeles, repeatedly reported that teams of burglars known as âflocking crewsâ have been an increasing problem in the L.A. community.
The word âflockingâ refers to group burglaries and is used loosely with other crimes in the reports. DPS Capt. David Carlisle said the department does not have a problem with increased burglaries.
âIâm familiar with what has been written in the past and our immediate relations personnel have dealt with this particular reporter, who has made these allegations that the gangs are targeting USC before,â Carlisle said. âUSC Public Safety has no evidence of that and we have investigated with LAPD and they have nothing to substantiate the claims of the reporter.â
Silva said USC officials believe the incidents are crimes of opportunity as opposed to organized crime. When the story was first brought to the attention of DPS last year, the department checked with its counterparts in the LAPD to confirm that there was insufficient evidence to suggest that university students are specifically being targeted.
âThe property thefts that we have observed are not consistent with flocking or any other type of organized criminal behavior,â the statement from DPS, released this month in response to the Fox 11 broadcast,Â read. âThese were largely crimes of opportunity committed by unaffiliated individuals. We made arrests in most of these cases and are confident that the suspects were operating independently.â
âMost of us in law enforcement had never even heard of [flocking] until this reporter brought it up,â Carlisle said.
Silva said the USC area dealt with more than 50 burglaries, assaults and robberies.
âDifferent gangs are running flocking crews in that area,â Silva said in her report, âbecause they know that students have expensive electronics.â
For example, burglaries have increased on Ellendale Place in recent years, according to DPS crime reports.Â In 2012, 11 residential burglaries and two car burglaries were reported â an increase from six burglaries in 2011. So far in 2013, one burglary has occurred on Ellendale Place and no car burglaries were reported in 2012.
Some students, including Sohem Dhesi, a freshman majoring in architecture, maintain that they still feel safe on the University Park Campus, especially with the increased safety policies.
âComing back from [off-campus] at 3 or 4 a.m. at night … before, I used to feel a bit concerned,â Dhesi said. âI felt that anyone could get in the gates, but itâs more difficult now so I feel better.â
Esolene He, a freshman majoring in biomedical engineering, said that though she feels safe, she understands why the university may be an appealing target for burglars.
âIt seems like a big concern, but itâs pretty safe,â He said. âHowever, it is a pretty wealthy school and weâre easy targets.â
Christian Vanderwall, a junior majoring in computer science and business administration, attributed the crime to the surrounding area.
âIt just happens to be that weâre the nearest location in a high concentration of criminals,â Vanderwall said.
Carlisle maintained that being aware and responsible, especially with personalÂ property, was of the utmost importance, especially on a college campus.
âThere are thieves who come to USC to steal because the students have a lot of valuable electronics,â Carlisle said. âBut, thatâs true at every college campus.â