Thursday, November 17, 2022

La Mirada News Briefs Nov. 17, 2022

Veterans Day Ceremony Notes later in post

Local elections

With more than 332,000 ballots remaining to be counted in Los Angeles County late Thursday afternoon , it's looking increasing more likely that challenger Lorena Vidaurre will pull an upset by ousting incumbent Jorge Tirado for a seat on the Norwalk-La Mirada Unified School District board.

Trailing Rob Cancio by just two votes for the top spot yesterday, Vidaurre took the lead for the first time today and now leads by four votes. 

Tirado remains in 6th place where he has been stuck for about a week, trailing Norma Amezcua by 547 votes for the 4th and final open seat on the board.  Amezcua picked up some more breathing room today over Casey Chattle  who is 514 votes behind in 5th.

Narcis Brasov continues to be in the number three spot. Just 53 votes separate the top three candidates. 

The top four vote getters will likely make up the last board members elected at large with representation expected to transition over to district elections by 2024.

A new update is expected on Friday afternoon 

In the other local elections, Dr. Zurich Lewis wins a third term on the Board of Trustees of Cerritos Community College, edging out Angelo Gandalf Maldonado by a 2 to 1 margin with 66.56% of the votes.

Measure CC, a Cerritos Community College $425 million bond measure appears headed towards a narrow victory with 56.79% of the votes tallied so far giving the nod. The measure requires voter approval of 55% to gain passage.

Some eyebrows were raised in what was thought to be a guaranteed blowout in the 38th District to the House of Representatives when Republican candidate Eric Ching of Walnut got off to a fast start in early returns trailing Linda Sanchez  55-45% in a solid blue district with only 21% of registered voters identifying as Republicans.

The Associated Press waited until late Friday evening until it felt enough ballots had been processed before sending out an alert to subscribers declaring Sanchez the winner of an 11th term in D.C. 

The lead held by Sanchez has widened since last Friday to 57.77%, and 42.23% for Ching as more vote by mail ballots continue to be counted.

Veterans Day 

About 150 turned out to observe the annual Veterans Day ceremony in the City Hall Plaza Friday morning.

Attendees heard La Mirada Mayor Dr. Anthony Otero speak about the sacrifices war veterans and enlisted service members make for the country that sometimes includes giving their lives for the safety, and security we enjoy as Americans  Otero served the country as a Marine before becoming a police officer.

Dr. Otero is one of the leaders of Boys Scout Troop 438 which played a big part of the ceremony including the posting of the Nation's colors and a rendition of 'Taps'. Troop 438 members are active in La Mirada with scouts volunteering service to the community in a number of ways including placing flags at the gravesites of local veterans at Olive Lawn Memorial Park on Memorial Day.

Mayor Anthony Otero addresses the crowd

Members of Boy Scouts Troop 438 prepare to present colors 

Wednesday, September 7, 2022

NLMUSD approves change electing school board by districts

In an attempt to avoid costly litigation, the Norwalk-La Mirada Unified School District board has elected to change to a system of electing its members by district.

The move was triggered by a demand letter from an attorney stating that the district's method of electing its board members from votes submitted from across the entire district may violate the California Voters Rights Act 

Enacted in 2002, the CVRA bans any election system that impairs a minority group or protected class from influencing the outcome of an election by diluting their votes.

The placed the board into the position of either paying out millions to defend an at-large system with little hope of prevailing and paying the plaintiff's legal costs or change to a system of district voting.

By switching to electing a board by district, legal fees are capped at no more than $30,000.  Cities and districts that have chosen to fight almost always lose and find themselves paying the other plaintiff's legal bills that can run into the millions of dollars fast.

Dozens of demand letters are sent to cities and districts each month, mostly by the same attorney, and are widely seen as a shakedown. No proof supporting the allegation is required to submit such a letter.

Instead of bowing to a demand letter, the City of Santa Monica chose to fight all the way to the state Supreme Court where it awaits a decision after spending $7-10 million defending at-large elections there.  A request for $22 million in legal fees by the plaintiffs attorney's is on hold pending a decision in the matter. 

The City of Palmdale spent $4.7 million and Whittier $1 million before each reached an agreement to end at-large elections.

The next action by the school board will be to conduct two public hearings to allow community members to make suggestions and voice concerns on the criteria that the board adopts to be used to establish the boundaries of the new districts. A demographer will use those criteria in drawing up two or more maps of proposed districts, followed by two more public hearings on the proposed maps and then another hearing to adopt the final district map.

Simply stated, the public will have plenty of opportunities to voice their opinion of what constitutes a fair district and what a map for the school district should look like.

The school district has not announced when the board will hold the initial public hearing.

Thursday, September 1, 2022

La Mirada is taking a bite out of crime

In an effort to combat the ongoing problem of catalytic converter theft, an ordinance was passed by the city council at its last meeting making it a misdemeanor to possess one of the devices in La Mirada without proof of ownership.

112 catalytic converters were reported stolen in the city in 2011 with another 58 taken through the first five months of 2022 according to a city staff report.

The devices can run $2,000 or more to repair and replace and currently have no serial numbers engraved on them making it difficult to tie a specific converter to a specific theft. 

Legislation is pending in the California legislature mandating a vehicle identification number be engraved on each device before sale or purchase.

Persons suspected of violating the ordinance will be given a chance to present evidence to deputies when first contacted or to detectives that are investigating the case that they lawfully possessed the devices by showing proof of ownership in a number of ways.

A few examples proving ownership can include presenting a bill of sale from the original owner, documentation from an auto body shop or scrap yard that the original owner relinquished the catalytic converter, and photographs showing the vehicle and VIN number that the converter came from.

Violations of the ordinance are a misdemeanor and are punishable by up to 6 months in the county jail, a fine of as much as $1,000, or both.

The ordinance is just one of several tools the city council has approved recently for use by deputies to combat crime in the city which is up a modest 7.93 through July of this year compared to the same time period in 2021.

During the same meeting, final approval was given for the purchase and installation of a 10-camera 'Automatic License Plate Reader' (ALPR) system.

ALPR reads the license plate of each vehicle passing by one of its cameras snapping a photo and detecting and recording unique specifics about it including the color, the model, date, and time while simultaneously checking a database of wanted vehicles.

Deputies will be alerted if a vehicle in near real-time, if that vehicle has been reported stolen, used in a felony, or is associated with a person is missing passes a location where ALPR has been deployed. 

If there is a wanted vehicle hit, an image of the vehicle along with the location it was spotted and the direction of travel will appear almost instantly on the computer screens inside patrol vehicles as well as at the Norwalk Station 911 center.

The information gathered by the system is stored and can be used to assist detectives to solve crimes.  The presence of the units has also been found to deter crime.

The same system is currently in use in Norwalk, Lakewood, and Bellflower and will cost the city $20,850 a year.

The camera locations will be chosen based on recommendations from sheriff's crime analysts, detectives, and La Mirada Public Safety and can be relocated to new locations as crime trends dictate.

The system does not capture images of the occupants of a vehicle and will not be used to catch traffic violations or persons that have outstanding tickets.  

Other actions by the city council recently aimed at fighting crime include approval for an $80,000 video surveillance system for Creek Park, and increases to the Sheriff's contract that adds a fourth patrol unit on the graveyard shift and a second day shift motor deputy conducting traffic  enforcement five days a week. 

The additional patrol car overnight raises the number of deputies on patrol on the early morning shift in La Mirada to its highest level since the 1990's. 

Friday, June 17, 2022

City to fight crime with automatic license plate readers

The city council has directed city staff to go forward with a plan to deploy automated license plate cameras at key locations throughout the city to assist deputies to detect and locate vehicles that are wanted or have been reported stolen or used during the commission of a crime.

The council approved a proposal Tuesday evening by a 3 to 1 vote to place ten cameras at locations throughout the city selected by the La Mirada Public Safety unit and the Crime Analyst at Norwalk Station after determining that they would be most effective detecting the passing of stolen and wanted vehicles in real time as well as record the license plates and vehicle images for later investigations of serious crimes.

The cameras are not used in any way to enforce traffic laws.  

The system comes at a cost of just over $20,800 per year for five years and is compatible with one already in place at the sheriff's department.

When a camera detects a vehicle that is wanted in a felony crime, stolen, or connected to a missing person the vehicle information, image, and location is immediately relayed to dispatchers and the computer screens into patrol vehicles. When available a sheriff's helicopter is also dispatched to assist in the search.

Such a system will be helpful into investigations such as shootings, robberies, and catalytic converter thefts where the information recorded by the system can help detectives solve cases that now go unresolved.

Monday, June 6, 2022

Analysis and an Endorsement for the District 2 Seat: Integrity, Community Service, and showing up counts

Residents of District 2 in the southeast section of La Mirada are selecting a council member for a four-year term in what many view as a referendum on Andrew Sarega, who is seeking a third term despite stating that he supports term limits.

During a failed 2018 campaign for an Orange County congressional seat that did not represent La Mirada, Sarega told voters in his platform statement that he would not run in 2022 for council because if he were unable to fulfill promises he made to voters in eight years "what are the chances I would do it in 30 years when energy and motivation are low?"

Looking to unseat Sarega are David Constantine who lists among his many accomplishments serving as president of the Kiwanis of La Mirada and has been one of the most active members of the community with local PTA's, and former school board trustee Chris Pflanzer who has. Both have extensive histories of service to the community and when it counts they are there for La Mirada. Sarega? Well, he is a good candidate to be featured on a milk carton.

Yes, June 7th is fast approaching and if it's election season you can count on a new round of election signs being vandalized and stolen and a rant by the elder Satega, John will get him ejected from a city council meeting, you can also bet the farm that controversy will swirl around one of the Sarega's.

In 2013 Andrew was going to remake City Hall, out with the 'Good ol' Boys. In 2015 his father also ran for a seat on the council. 2017 was a scandal involving mailers that were sent to voters making vicious attacks on Andrew's opponent Pauline Deal and John Lewis who was running against Tony Aiello of the La Mirada Blog a friend of Andrew's and last election John Sarega, Jackie Fowler, a Sarega proxy running against Steve De Ruse and members of her family attempted to engage De Ruse in a shouting match inside council chambers to bring a quick adjournment to an already completed meeting.

For the record, both Sarega and Aiello have stated they had no involvement in the mailer fiasco and it happened to be a strange coincidence the mailers were printed and sent out by the same obscure printer in Texas.

In deciding which candidate is best suited for public office there are a number of factors to consider including community involvement and interaction, their platform, and ability to put it into motion, and of the utmost importance is integrity.

Andrew and John Sarega reside in the same home and have their personal interests very much intertwined so please bear with me. 

In 2003 John Sarega operated a smog inspection business on Rosecrans Avenue in Santa Fe Springs and had his right to ever operate a repair business again revoked by the state Bureau of Automotive Repair (BAR) the following year after a series of criminal convictions for engaging in a scheme called clean piping.

Clean piping occurs when a shop hooks up smog inspection equipment to a vehicle that runs 'clean' and will pass a smog inspection then entering the VIN number into DMV records for a car that runs 'dirty' and will not pass inspection in order to issue a passing smog certificate for the vehicle.

In 2011 both Sarega's formed RRK Motors and were issued a DMV license to operate an auto dealership which eventually moved operations to a location on Valley View Avenue. In 2016 investigators from the agency that regulates repair facilities BAR issued a citation to Andrew Sarega of RRK Motors for operating an unlicensed repair shop while a seated member of the city council and just months removed from being a Newport Beach police officer.

Several visits in 2019 by La Mirada News to the RRK Motors business found John Sarega operating an unlicensed body repair shop with multiple employees after hours and on weekends in what appeared an attempt to avoid detection by BAR investigators. 

During the same time period, the DMV license that allowed RRK Motors to operate had expired while four of the vehicles driven by members of the Sarega family outfitted with dealer plates continued to be driven instead of registering the vehicles and paying fees through DMV. When informed of this fact John Sarega moved to see that their DMV license was brought back into compliance. 

RRK Motors appears to no longer be in business. Its offices have been shuttered and all the wrecked and used vehicles for sale have been removed and the state suspended its right to operate as a corporation in 2020.  The RRK DMV license has expired yet vehicles that still have the registration fee dodging dealer plates attached and an Orange Ford Mustang driven by the councilman himself with Oregon license plates can be found at the Sarega home.

Andrew Sarega has failed to address his high absentee rate, lack of community participation nor why he is running for a third term despite proclaiming earlier that he favored term limits. 

Sarega is running on a platform that pushes a plan for the city to replace all the privately-owned block walls which appear to be in a state of disrepair in many places with new uniform walls at taxpayer expense. A city report on such a proposal prepared for the council came with a hefty price tag when adjusted for inflation nears $200 Million. This is more money than is spent in the city on law enforcement and fire and rescue services in La Mirada over a ten-year period. The city will need to purchase a printing press to print the money to pay for this proposal.

Both David Constantine and Chris Pflanzer are both good candidates and would serve the city well if elected to the city council. La Mirada News prefers David Constantine because he has put forward in a clear and distinct platform a series of goals that center on public safety and the safety and development of the youth of La Mirada that the city budget can accommodate.

La Mirada News endorses David Constantine on June 7th for the District 2 city council seat.

Friday, May 6, 2022

Sarega faces stiff competition in District 2 re-election bid

Two candidates with an extensive record of service to the community are looking to unseat La Mirada city council member Andrew Sarega in his bid for a third term in the District 2 election in June. 

Chris Pflanzer, who served nine years as a Norwalk-La Mirada Unified School District board member is one of the candidates and cites public safety as his top priority.

Pflanzer, who has operated his own business for 39 years has served on more than a dozen community organizations including the La Mirada Community Foundation says fiscal responsibility and responsible leadership are also priorities if elected. 

Taking direct aim at Sarega and his frequent absences at city council meetings is David Constantine

Constantine has coined the incumbent as 'No Show Sarega' in a mailer sent to voters, points out Sarega has been absent from 32 percent of council meetings since April 21, 2021 and has missed the equivalent of a year and a half of meetings during his nine years on the city council.

Like Pflanzer, Constantine calls public safety his top priority and also has an extensive resume of service to the community as President of the Kiwanis Club, as a volunteer with Love La Mirada, local PTA's and more. 

Sarega, the two-term incumbent was the youngest person ever elected to the city council at age 25 in 2013 and is seeking a third term despite vowing he would not seek re-election in 2018 during a failed campaign for the 39th congressional seat in Orange County.

Having now reached that term-limit he supported for politicians while he still had four years remaining in his current term, Sarega has now reversed his opinion as his term nears its end telling those attending the Chamber of Commerce candidates forum last night that he now favored letting voters decide if eight years was enough.

Image from Sarega 2018 congressional campaign platform statement

In support of not seeking a third term back in 2018, Sarega states in his election platform "If I am unable to do it in two four-year terms, what are the chances that I will do it in 30".

Sarega has accomplished one goal he championed prior to his election. He successfully joined an effort with the current Mayor, Ed Eng introducing the availability of recorded video from city council meetings online.

Sarega shares the same goal the other candidates possess in expanding the number of sports fields available for youth sports.

Sarega has been promoting a plan to improve the asthetics of La Mirada's major roadways by replacing all the block walls at city expense along those roads. Such a plan if instituted would cost taxpayers $195 Million to $225 million to complete over a 10-year period.

The former police officer lists public safety last on his platform while Constantine and Pflanzer place it as their top priority.

Wednesday, March 9, 2022

La Mirada Crime Blotter for February 2022

Tues  Feb 1

5:15 a.m.    A catalytic converter theft was reported in the 15000 block of Campillos Rd.

1:45 p.m.    A suspect was arrested at Imperial Hwy and Santa Gertrudes Av behind the Marshall's center for assaulting deputies while resisting detention or arrest.

Weds  Feb 2

3;20 p.m.    An arrest was made in the 12300 block of La Mirada Bl for shoplifting.

3:50 p.m.     An arrest was made for a felony weapons violation in the 14900 block of Leffingwell Rd.

10:10 p.m.   A non-injury hit-and-run collision was reported at Valley View Av and Adoree St

Fri Feb 4

2:50 a.m.     A catalytic converter was reported stolen in the 14400 block of Adelfa Dr.

Sat Feb 5

3:15 a.m.     A vehicle theft was reported in the 15400 block of La Mirada Bl

Sun Feb 6

8:30 a.m.    A vehicle break-in was reported at the La Mirada County Golf Course, 15501 Alicante Rd,  A purse was taken from the vehicle.

2:40 p.m.    The grand theft of a cell phone was reported in the 16100 block of Rosecrans Ave. The phone was taken from an unlocked vehicle.

8:50 p.m.    A domestic violence assault was reported in the 15700 block of Valley View Av

Mon Feb 7

7:21 p.m.    A shoplifting arrest was made in the 14800 block of Telegraph Rd.

Tues Feb 8

4:00 a.m.     A catalytic converter theft was reported in the 14700 block of Gandesa Rd.

11:59 a.m.   A catalytic converter theft was reported in the 15300 block of San Bruno Dr,

11:52 p.m.  Theft of copper wiring was reported from the construction site in the 13800 block of Valley View Ave. 

5:25 p.m.    A hit-and-run incident was reported at Rosecrans Ave and Santa Gertrudes Ave. No injuroes were suffered in the collision.

Thur Feb 10

4:17 p.m.    A shoplifting arrest was made in the 14200 block of Rosecrans Av.

9:32 p.m.    A known suspect attempted to take a vehicle by force from a woman in the 14300 block of Valley View Ave.

Fri Feb 11

11:59 a.m.   A shoplifting arrest was made in the 15700 block of Imperial Hwy.

6:44 p.m.    An arrest alleging possession of a controlled substance was made at Valley View Av and Gannet St.

Sat Feb 12

2:50 a.m.    A hit-and-run collision was reported at Peppertree Lane and Ranch Lane in the Hillsborough neighborhood of the city. No injuries were reported.

4:37 p.m.    A catalytic converter was stolen from the 13000 block of Santa Gertrudes Ave.

9:55 p.m.    An Attempted theft of a truck was reported in the 14400 block of Elmrock Ave.

Mon Feb 14

4:15 a.m.    A vehicle theft was reported in the 14600 block of La Mesa Dr.

8:30 p.m.    Shoplifting was reported in the 15800 block of Imperial Hwy.

8:40 p.m.    Domestic violence was reported in the 13300 blocl of Marlette Dr.

8:50 p.m.    Shoplifting was reported in the 14800 block of Telegraph Rd,

Tues Feb 15

5:46 p.m.    An arrest was made for possession of a controlled substance at Valley View Ave and Rosecrans Ave.

6:12 p.m.    A catalytic converter theft was reported in the 16000 block of Phoebe Av.

10:00 p.m.  An arrest was made in the 16000 block of Canary Ave alleging a felony weapons law violation.

Weds Feb 16

7:25 p.m.    Felony shoplifting (loss over $950) was reported in the 15900 block of Imperial Hwy.

Thur Feb 17

5:00 a.m.    A vehicle theft was reported in the 14700 block of Florita Rd.

12:00 p.m.  A mit-and-run incident was reported at Plantana Dr and Leisure Dr. No injures were reported.

Fri  Feb 18

3:30 a.m.    A burglary at a business was reported in the 16100 block of Canary Ave.

2:35 p.m.    An assault was reported in the 13500 block of Woodridge Ave.

3:30 p.m.    A Domestic violence assault was reported in the 12700 block of Gabbett Dr.

Sun Feb 20

9:22 a.m.    Shoplifting was reported in the 14800 block of Telegraph Rd.

Mon Feb 21

12:22 a.m.  An attempt vehicle theft was reported in the 15600 block of Hesse Dr.

Tues Feb 22

3:00 a.m.    The theft of copper pipes was reported stolen from the construction site in the 13800 blocl of Valley View Av

2:00 p.m.    An arrest was made for possession of a controlled substance in the 14600 block of Firestone Blvd.

3:43 p.m.   An arrest was made for a felony weapons law violation in the 13200 block of Marquardt Ave.

Fri  Feb 25

Midnight    A hit-and-run was reported at Biola Ave and Gardenhill Dr. No injuries were reported.

12:42 a.m.  A residential burglary was reported in the 14500 block of San Cristobal Dr. The suspect was arrested later while driving a stolen vehicle.

The following incidents were also reported in La Mirada in the month of Febuary. Some of the information was unavailable at the time this information was compiled.

*A strong arm robbery was reported at Home Depot. A female assaulted a loss prevention employee as she was taking merchandise that she failed to pay for nor received as a gift.

*Tools were taken from an unlocked vehicle in the 15500 block of Talbot Dr.

*A purse and backpack were taken from an unlocked vehicle in the 14200 block of Rosecrans Ave,

*Catalytic converters were reported stolen in the 13800 block of Adoree Street, and the 13100 block of Ocaso Ave.

Tuesday, February 22, 2022

Councilman Sarega fined for Political Reform Act violations

File Photo

Updated 2/22/22 6:30 p.m.

La Mirada News has learned that La Mirada City Council member Andrew Sarega has entered into an agreement with the California Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) pending final approval acknowledging six violations of state campaign law during his bid for a second term in 2017.

Sarega will pay a fine of $1,636 as a result of those violations.

An FPPC investigation into Sarega and the candidate-controlled campaign committee 'Sarega for Council 2017' found four violations of the Political Reform Act that requires a notification to the commission within 24 hours anytime a contribution of $1,000 or more is received. 

The agreement states the most serious violation occurred on February 28, 2017, when Sarega failed to notify the commission that he or the committee he controlled paid for an advertisement/mass-mailing just over a week before the election.

Sarega was also fined for twice failing to file statements reporting contributions and expenditures in a timely manner in January and February 2017.

The fine is the third handed down by the FPPC from investigations that were spearheaded by La Mirada Lamplighter Publisher and Editor Brian Hews into the 2017 city elections that included allegations that Sarega, La Mirada Blog owner Tony Aiello a failed candidate in the same election had coordinated their campaigns with outside election committees as evidence by the use of the same Texas firm that specializes in printing and sending out election mailers according Hews reported in the Lamplighter.

No action was taken on the allegations made by Hews but the FPPC fined Aiello $750 last October  for failing to file three required contribution reports within 24 hours as required by law.

Sarega is nearing the end of his second term on council and it is unclear if he will run for a third term in the June elections. 

During an unsuccessful run for the Congressional 39th District seat in 2018 Sarega vowed he would not run again in campaign materials mailed to voters at the time stating he supported term limits adding that any politician that is unable to accomplish their goals in 8 years will not do so in additional terms in office.

Wednesday, February 9, 2022

La Mirada Sheriff's Crime Blotter 02/09/2022

Tues  Feb 1

5:15 a.m.    A catalytic converter theft was reported in the 15000 block of Campillos Rd.

1:45 p.m.    A suspect was arrested at Imperial Hwy and Santa Gertrudes Av behind the Marshall's center for assaulting deputies while resisting detention or arrest.

Weds  Feb 2

10:10 p.m.   A non-injury hit-and-run collision was reported at Valley View Av and Adoree St

Sat Feb 5

3:15 a.m.     A vehicle theft was reported in the 15400 block of La Mirada Bl

Tues Feb 8

4:00 a.m.     A catalytic converter theft was reported in the 14700 block of Gandesa Rd

Tuesday, February 8, 2022

City Council to study Creek Park video surveillance system

The La Mirada City Council will revisit a proposal to use video surveillance at Creek Park at its monthly study session Tuesday to assist law enforcement efforts to deter unlawful activity and to help identify those that commit criminal acts in the mile-long park.

Security technology experts from Verkada Inc based in San Mateo, California visited the park to conduct an assessment and determined that ten cameras would be able to cover areas of concern identified by city public safety officials where vandalism and other crimes were most occurring.
Imperial Hwy tunnel that could soon 
see video security cameras

The study also proposes placing two cameras inside the pedestrian tunnel underneath Imperial Highway connecting the wilderness area of Creek Park to Oak Creek Park where acts of vandalism occur regularly.

Park patrons have voiced concern about recent acts of vandalism that include spray painting the restroom walls, drug use on the horse trail, and occasional reports of visitors being accosted by individuals that were suffering from mental health issues. 
The city council will view video from a surveillance camera already in place at the city yard on Phoebe Avenue to demonstrate the advantages and limits that video may serve in identifying suspects that commit crimes in the park.

The system under study allows instant access to recorded video for 30 days on any device and features facial recognition ability.

If approved, the cameras would be mounted on poles with solar panels and linked using internet connectivity.

The city council study session begins today at 5 p.m. in the conference room at La Mirada City Hall.

Friday, February 4, 2022

La Mirada crimes report shows small increase in 2021

La Mirada remained one of the safest cities in the region despite a small uptick in crime in 2021 from the previous year according to a sheriff's department report released this week.

The 813 serious crimes reported to deputies last year was an increase of 2.91% over the 791 reports of theft and violent crimes reported in the city in 2020. 

The surge of catalytic converter and auto thefts experienced across the region played a large part in a 4.86% increase in property crime that rose from 700 to 734. On a positive note, the number of burglaries of homes and businesses fell from 105 to 88 in 2021.

La Mirada remained one of the safest cities in the region posting a 12.1% drop in violent crime led by a reduction in aggravated assaults and robberies.

The report that outlines crimes reported in each area deputies patrol including contract cities shows indicates La Mirada fared well when compared to other jurisdictions in the county.

Cerritos, with a population, average income, and business count comparable to La Mirada, a 29.6% increase in crime was reported including large increases in robbery 43.6%, aggravated assault 40.4%, and a staggering 89.7% increase in auto theft.

Some of the other cities that experienced increases Pico Rivera 12.8%, Industry 31%, La Puente 28%, Lynwood 18.4%, Rancho Palos Verdes 30%, Malibu 16.75%, Santa Clarita 5.8%, Diamond Bar 13%, and West Hollywood 22%.

Crimes fell in some cities patrolled by LASD including in Norwalk where crime fell 16.3% including a 35% reduction in violent crime. 

Sheriff patrols were increased in Norwalk in 2021 including the addition of a second sheriff's special problems team and the city public safety unit added more personnel after voters passed a 1% sales tax to benefit public safety in 2020. 

The increases to the Norwalk Public Safety unit where non-sworn city officers are dispatched to minor calls allow deputies more time to conduct pro-active patrols. La Mirada also has a similar city public safety unit tasked with many of the same responsibilities.

Cities including Lakewood, Bellflower, Compton, and Lancaster all saw modest decreases in reported crime last year.

Crime in La Mirada 2021

Homicide                        0
Rape                               12
Robbery                         23
Aggravated Assault       44

Total Violent Crimes     79

Burglary                        88
Larceny Theft               471
Auto Theft                    173
Arson                            2

Total Property Crimes  734

Total Serious Crimes    813

Tuesday, January 4, 2022

La Mirada Crime: Deputies are finding success keeping the surge out of this city

La Mirada is not seeing the big upswing in crime many other areas across the region, state, and nation are experiencing according to crime statistics through the end of November of 2021 when compared to the previous year.

Deputies logged 726 crimes of theft and violence during the first 11 months of 2021 surpassing the 718 reported during the same time period in 2020, a 1.1% increase.

There was good news in the latest crime report. Violent crime fell 15.3% through November 30 from 85 to 72 led by a large drop in aggravated assaults that were off 25.5%

Violent crimes through Nov 30

                               2020   2021

Homicide                  0         1

Rape                          6       10

Robbery                   25       20

Agg Assault             55       41

All Violent Crimes  85       72

A modest 3.3% increase in crime overall was reported through the end of November 2021 due to a large increase in vehicle theft. There was one bright spot. A 20.2% reduction in burglaries to homes and businesses 

Burglary                 99      79

Larceny Theft        405    417

Vehicle Theft         127    157

Arson                       2        1

All Property Crime 633   654

Arguably the dollar loss associated with crime in 2021 would likely be higher considering high losses experienced from a rise in catalytic converter theft and auto theft when compared to theft from unlocked autos of past years.

Many other cities patrolled by deputies have seen alarming increases in crime in the past year including a 29% increase in Cerritos led by 90% more vehicle thefts and a 44% increase in robberies while Pico Rivera had seen violent crime jump 35%.

The number of cities experiencing more crime far outweighs the few that had seen it fall where the sheriff's department is under contract for police protection.

One local city is seeing tangible results in its fight against crime. In Norwalk where voters approved a one cent public safety sales tax last year has seen a 36% drop in violent crime after it deployed more resources including a second special problems team of deputies. 

When property crimes are factored in crime has fallen in Norwalk more than 15% from the same time period in 2020.

One man who knows something about crime, former County District Attorney Steve Cooley says residents and local officials in now safe suburban areas should not to be complacent warning the surge of brazen crimes just starting to be seen in once safe places such as Lakewood, and well-to-do Westside neighborhoods is coming and to be prepared for it.

In an interview with California Insider, Cooley blames the recent surge on current District Attorney George Gascon' policies of charging the lowest possible offense and not charging criminals with enhancements when using a weapon, previous strikes and not asking defendants to be held on bail.

The Cooley interview can be viewed down below.