Politics

LA Street Gangs Targeting Residents In Wealthy Areas, LAPD Urges Residents To Be On Guard

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More than a dozen street gangs have been descending on wealthy areas of Los Angeles, following residents to their homes, and robbing them of expensive items, according to police.

Capt. Jonathan Tippet, who spearheads an LAPD “follow-home robbery” task force, told the city Police Commission during a meeting on Tuesday that at least 17 gangs, most of them based in South Los Angeles, have been independently staging robberies, sometimes using spotters to target people wearing high-end watches or driving expensive cars.

As many as five carloads of people have followed home some targets, swarming them to steal watches, handbags or cars before they have much of a chance to resist, Tippet said.

In one case, a man was arrested this month on suspicion of robbing a victim of two watches worth an estimated $600,000.

On Monday, a woman was followed by criminal suspects after she left a jewelry store in the Jewelry District of Downtown Los Angeles, police said. After stopping at an intersection, one of the suspects got out of a car and smashed the woman’s driver-side window. The woman abandoned her car and was chased by the suspects who struck her with a vehicle, held her at gunpoint and stole her watch, police said.

“We have seen countless individuals traumatized by having a gun pointed at them,” Tippet said. “Many others are dealing with the trauma and injuries from being tackled, kicked, beaten, punched and are pistol-whipped to the head.”

Tippet told Fox News the gangs are primarily based out of South Los Angeles, but the force has seen individuals associated with these gangs who live outside of the county.

Tippet said the robberies are being committed primarily in the downtown and Wilshire area with a significant amount in the Hollywood area.

Tippet said there were 165 such holdups last year and 56 so far this year. Thirteen victims were shot, including two people who died. Fifty robberies took place in the LAPD’s Hollywood Division and nearly as many in the Wilshire Division.

Such attacks were “almost unheard of” before last year, Tippet said.

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