Lt. Christian Eichenlaub (far right) moderates the MBPD Town Hall Meeting at the Joslyn Community Center Monday night. Photo by Esther Kang
A few years ago, Manhattan Beach police arrested a San Bernardino man on two separate occasions for burglary. When officers asked him why he’d bother to travel all the way to Manhattan Beach to commit his crimes, he had a simple answer.
“He said, ‘Because you lock nothing,’” Chief of Police Eve Irvine recalled. “‘You leave everything open. It’s like the Manhattan Beach buffet.’”
The “Lock It Or Lose It” campaign was one of the talking points at the MBPD Town Hall Meeting Monday night at the Joslyn Community Center. A panel of police personnel, with representatives from patrol and the detective bureaus, presented crime trends from the previous year and advised the group of about 50 residents on crime prevention.
The Manhattan Beach community is often “lulled into a false sense of security” due to its low crime rates, prompting residents to become overconfident, explained Chief Irvine. Last year, 92 percent of vehicle-related burglaries could have been prevented: about 54 percent of those thefts involved unlocked or open doors, and 38 percent involved valuables left out in plain sight.
In addition, 63 percent of residential burglaries last year did not require forced entry.
“Let’s help ourselves not become a victim,” she said.
The Criminal Justice Realignment Act, also known as Assembly Bill 109, was another topic of interest. A.B. 109, which took effect October 2011 with the goal of alleviating California’s prison overpopulation, allows criminal offenders convicted for a non-serious, non-violent or non-sex-related felony to serve out their sentences in county jails. In addition, those offenders are now released into county supervision instead of state parole, under a new program called Post Release Community Supervision (PRCS).
Sgt. Paul Ford talked about A.B. 109 with respect to the Manhattan Beach community. Between October 2011 and October 2012, more than 11,000 inmates were released throughout Los Angeles County to their last residence. Though only one PRCS individual currently resides in Manhattan Beach, MBPD has arrested 20 out-of-town individuals on PRCS, three of them on more than one occasion.
“Most of those crimes are usually property crimes; we haven’t had anything violent, knock on wood,” Sgt. Ford said. “But they do travel here.”
All the more reason why Manhattan Beach residents should take serious note of “Lock It or Lose It,” he said.