Los Angeles clothing stores feel hit by crime

Los Angeles is famous for its fashion sense and stylish crowds. Yet over the past six months, the city’s clothing stores have attracted a totally undesirable element: thieves.

After an expected low number in the first year of the pandemic, Los Angeles clothing stores saw an estimated 50 to 75 crimes per month from April 2021 to February 2022. Then, in March, the number jumped to 102 crimes, according to Los Angeles Police Department figures. This is the highest monthly tally since the LAPD began making its data public in 2010.

It turned out to be just one step on a meteoric rise. There were 116 reports in July and 216 clothing store crimes the following month. The total reached 247 in September.

Line graph of monthly crimes in clothing stores in Los Angeles

The surge means that, just in the first three quarters of 2022, Los Angeles has already set a new annual record for clothing store crime. From Jan. 1 to Sept. 1, 30, there were 1,098 crimes, according to LAPD data. This represents an increase of 67.1% from the 657 reports in all of 2021. This is an increase of 83.3% from the total for 2019 (599).

Bar graph of annual crimes in clothing stores

Some incidents may be perpetrated by organized crime rings stealing items from clothing stores and other stores with the intent of reselling them, or even returning them to the store for a refund. Last year Governor Gavin Newsom announced plans to suppress the practice.

Spotlight on the city center

That’s not the only post-pandemic retail crime surge Los Angeles is seeing. Crosstown recently reported an increase shoplifting incidents throughout the city.

The majority of crimes in clothing stores this year have been listed as shoplifting, with 723 reported in the city through September 30. Broken down, 640 of those reports were classified as minor thefts, in which the value of stolen goods is less than $950. The remaining 83 cases were identified as grand theft, charging when the value of stolen merchandise exceeds $950.

The second most frequent crime in clothing stores was robbery, with 82 reports.

The neighborhood with the most crime in clothing stores is densely populated Downtown, with 489 reports so far this year. According to police data, thieves were particularly active in the 600 block of South Broadway, which is home to a concentration of sneaker shops and small jewelry vendors.

[Get COVID-19, crime and other stats about where you live with the Crosstown Neighborhood Newsletter]

Blair Besten, Executive Director of the Historic Business Improvement Districtwhich runs community cleanup and safety programs in the downtown core, noted that not all incidents become police statistics.

“It’s a citywide issue, but I believe some stores, by nature, have a more direct relationship with LAPD,” ​​Besten said. “So they’re more inclined to report.”

It’s perhaps unsurprising that Downtown ranks high on the list of clothing store crimes, given that the neighborhood is home to tens of thousands of residents, hundreds of thousands of day laborers and a large number of points of sale. Shoplifters and other thieves often go where stores are concentrated. Canoga Park and city ​​of the centurywhich both have large shopping malls, have each seen a large number of shoplifting reports this year.

Canoga Park has the second highest number of clothing store crimes in the city this year, with 76 reports. The high ranking is also panoramic city (53 reports).

Table with neighborhoods with the most crime in clothing stores

A Chronic Shoplifter

The spike in crimes at downtown clothing stores may have been sparked by one individual in particular: On October 11, the LAPD announced the arrest of a “chronic shoplifter”. He said on October 7, Henry Funches was seen exiting a location in the 600 block of South Broadway with stolen property. According to police, Funches has been linked to nearly 50 thefts, stealing goods worth around $15,000.

The LAPD media relations office did not return calls requesting additional information.

Since Funches’ arrest, the numbers have gone down downtown. According to the most recent LAPD data, there were 39 clothing store crimes in the community in October. That compares to 171 downtown a month earlier.

While the decrease is welcome, Besten, like others, expressed frustration that many retail theft perpetrators aren’t being prosecuted aggressively, particularly if the charge is petty theft. According to police data, 459 of the incidents at downtown clothing stores this year have been identified as minor thefts. Only on 44 occasions did the value of the stolen goods reach the standards for a felony charge of grand theft.

“When the laws and prosecutions of the District Attorney’s office do not support pending arrests, the best effort we can make is to help companies harden their target,” Besten said.

How we did it: We have examined LAPD publicly available data on crimes in clothing stores from January 1, 2010 to September 1. 30, 2022. For neighborhood boundaries, we rely on borders defined by the Los Angeles Times. Learn more about our data here.

LAPD data only reflects crimes reported to the department, not the number of crimes actually committed. To make our calculations, we rely on data made public by the LAPD. LAPD may update old crime reports with new information or recategorize old reports. These revised reports are not always automatically part of the public database.

Want to know how your neighborhood is doing? Or just interested in our data. Email us at [email protected].

About Renee Williams

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