The Crescenta Valley Sheriff’s station reported zero residential burglaries in La Cañada Flintridge for the month of February, an occurrence not seen in many years and one heralded by the Public Safety Commission at a recent March meeting on crime trends.
“So, this is not an April Fool’s joke? It really was zero residential burglaries?” said Commissioner Marilyn Smith. “This is phenomenal. I think in the entire nine years I sat on this commission; I don’t think I’ve ever seen zero residential burglaries.”
Crescenta Valley Sheriff’s station Special Assignment Deputy Ashween Nand briefed the commission on the monthly crime trends.
Apart from no residential burglaries, he noted, there were also zero thefts reported at T.J. Maxx during the month, which is a significant decrease from the 12 crimes in January.
In both January and February, arrests stayed the same at 15. Traffic collisions decreased from 16 in January to six in February. Citations increased from 70 in January to 110 in February. There were four incidents of identity theft in February, up from two in January.
As to the squashed number of residential burglaries, commissioners questioned what might have helped deter the crimes.
Nand said it could be multiple factors, including that burglars were targeting a different city or had been caught in another city and were in jail. A combination of crime suppression, flock cameras and informing residents on what to look out for could also be helping, he added.
In the same discussion, commissioners pushed to move forward with a new Ring safety camera program for residents. The program originally launched in 2017, when 100 homes participated. Due to its popularity, they did a second and third phase of the program in 2018 and moved on to a final phase for businesses and residents.
“City staff contacted the Ring.com Community Engagement Team expressing interest in once again partnering with the company. Staff was informed that Ring.com now exclusively collaborates with nonprofit organizations,” read the report.
The best approach to encourage use of the cameras was found to provide a rebate program that would reimburse residents for a portion of the cost of the security equipment. The program would be set to start for the fiscal year 2023-24.
“City staff is proposing a $15,000 subsidy level for a total of 150 homeowners to participate with the following guidelines for a home security camera rebate program,” said Senior Management Analyst Christina Nguyen.
For eligibility, applicants have to reside in LCF and submit a copy of a valid government-issued ID with an LCF address.
“If they’re an owner and tenant, they would submit a utility bill or some type of a bill that shows that they not only live in La Cañada, but they own property,” said Nguyen. “And if they’re a tenant, and they’re renting the space, we would need a signed letter just knowing that they have obtained permission from the owner of the property, and we don’t want any issues with a tenant or renter with the property owner.”
The security device itself must be new and be paired with any type of device with a camera.
The maximum amount of rebate is $100 per LCF residential address and only for one security camera device. The device must be purchased on or after a date that will be determined by the city and copy of the receipts or proof of payment must be submitted.
The device must be installed on the front facing exterior of the residential property and a photo of that will need to be provided to the city.
“Rebates would be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis until funding is used. Interested residents would need to submit an application [with] the required documents. Once eligibility is determined, the city would mail a check to the resident,” said Nguyen.
“Christina, I think this is fantastic,” said Commissioner Wes Seastrom, who along with Smith, pressed for more details on the flexibility of where the device can be placed.
“Why does it need to be front facing? I recall one of the presentations we had, I believe it was from the sheriff when we first instituted a Ring program. There were issues [where] thieves would go behind where there was no camera and then they put their ladders and go up to the second floor,” said Smith.
Nguyen said the staff recommended that the camera should be front facing so it could provide a street view, thinking about benefiting the neighborhood as a whole if something happened. City staff noted they would consult on that recommendation before they execute the program.
Smith also mentioned that getting an owner’s signature as a renter could be challenging and suggested that requirement be removed. Nguyen agreed and said it was only a requirement so there is no damage done to the property because of installment.
“I think it’s great. Thank you for responding to this so quickly. I think it really shows that the city is interested in the safety of the residents and are willing to step up and contribute,” said Commissioner Jeff Olson.
Other questions and suggestions that came from the commission included prioritizing low-income residents and identifying residents who already took advantage of the program in 2017.
The commission voted to pass the program, and that recommendation should next be presented to City Council.
First published in the April 6 print issue of the Outlook Valley Sun.