There is a reason that you should protect your valuables, lock up your home and car and install a security system… and that reason is that there is really no “real” deterrent in Los Angeles for someone who makes a career of being a thief.
You would think being caught and arrested for burglary or robbery would have life changing repercussions. The kind that, if you continue, will result in being locked up in jail for a long long time. The reality is, not really. If you live by the beach, or in any area of Los Angeles with a high concentration of homeless you know that one primary way that many of them sustain themselves and associated drug/alcohol habits is theft. And depending on the drug, the level and brazen nature of the thefts can be quite aggressive. This of course isn’t exclusive to the homeless, but the reason I bring up the homeless is that they are out in the open and you tend to see them all the time. You see where they live, frequent, you see what they own and you often see them get arrested. And, when you see a local homeless person with a $600 mountain bike – it is a pretty safe bet they didn’t buy it. Trade and life on the street is closely associated with crime… and if it is your neighborhood – chances are you may become a victim… if you provide the opportunity.
Let’s take the example of one of Venice’s more well known residents: Anton Massey. Anton is an alcoholic, a hustler, and a prolific burglar. Although homeless, he did just cycle through the rounds of Section 8 housing… but he lost it because he is just not fundamentally responsible enough to do what is required to keep it. At this point, Anton is so well known he is rarely arrested for public intoxication… because he is often released before the arresting officers are back out on the street from arresting him. He is usually arrested for burglary… sometimes misdemeanor burglary, sometimes felony burglary. Either way, he’s out in days and right back at it. And there is nothing special about Anton in that regard. The only shocking thing he represents is how you can rob and burgle your ass off and as long as you aren’t violent… you are out of jail in no time.
Anton is in jail right now. He’s in the psychiatric ward and word is he got a hold of some bad dope… but if you look at his most recent arrest records… and take note of ALL of the DIFFERENT case numbers… everything is reduced to “Time Served”.
Statistics issued in June of 2013 estimate the number of homeless in Los Angeles at 58,000. And of course homeless are not the only group who rob and steal… regardless of your housing situation the point is in Los Angeles if you commit a crime that isn’t violent… chances are you will skate. AB109 prison realignment doesn’t help, and we are looking at thousands of prisoners being released early by the end of 2013.
So – if you don’t want to be the victim of a robbery or burglary – DON’T PROVIDE ANY OPPORTUNITY to the criminals around us. They watch, and wait for the best time to take. Don’t be a victim.