LAPD proposes foot patrols on Colorado Boulevard

Relentless, a bar and restaurant on Colorado Boulevard that was recently broken into. Thursday, Jan. 30, 2020. Sarah Hofmann/The Occidental

Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) Northeast Area Senior Lead Officer Fernando Ochoa proposed the implementation of foot patrols on Colorado Boulevard following a string of recent restaurant break-ins in the area, according to the Boulevard Sentinel. The proposal follows the introduction of foot patrols on Highland Park’s Figueroa Boulevard Jan. 3.

According to Ochoa, the proposal is waiting on next steps from the office of LA City Councilmember Jose Huizar of Council District 14, whose successor will be selected in the March 3 election. As of Feb. 4, the councilmember’s office had requested a detailed breakdown of services included in the proposal for the foot patrols, Ochoa said via email.

Relentless, a restaurant on Colorado, was broken into Jan. 7. Subsequent coverage from KTLA increased awareness of recent break-ins, according to owner Doris Hess. She was not there the night of the break-in, but she often stays in the restaurant late with her children. Since the break-in, Hess said employees at the restaurant have taken precautions, such as not working alone or late at night and using an alarm system.

According to Hess, the cost from the break-in at Relentless was solely from damages to property.

“They didn’t even take anything. There was no cash. No restaurant leaves cash in their location. No small mom-and-pop place leaves cash, especially on Colorado,” Hess said.

Corey Wilton, owner of Penny OvenFour Cafe, and Pienconehas had all three of his restaurants on Colorado broken into. He said repair costs after break-ins can have serious consequences for businesses.

“I think what a lot of people fail to realize is that if we get broken into, we have a $2,500 deductible,” Wilton said. “Most of these break-ins are under that threshold. It’s not like we have some fairy sprinkling dust and it’s all taken care of.”

Corey Wilton, who owns Penny Oven with his wife and business partner Michelle, talked about the toll that break-ins take on independent businesses. Thursday, Jan. 30, 2020. Sarah Hofmann/The Occidental

The Jan. 7 incident occurred exactly one year after Piencone was broken into. Afterward, Wilton said, three people were arrested and sentenced to three years in prison. Wilton, who supports the idea of foot patrols on Colorado, expects they will help with what he sees as slow response times from LAPD.

“People kind of know that the response time’s going to be 15 minutes to an hour for the police to come out,” Wilton said. “Aside from a random police car driving down the road while somebody’s doing this, it’s kind of tough to catch these guys.”

LAPD officers have conducted foot patrols on Figueroa since Jan. 3, according to The Eastsider. Two officers patrol the area in Highland Park on foot in what councilmember Gil Cedillo describes as “highly visible” patrols in the evening and afternoon hours. Highland Park residents have criticized the patrols on Figueroa for catering to newer, higher-income residents and intimidating long-time community members.

Hess supports the proposal and believes it will reduce crime.

“I think having patrols late at night after about 11, 12 o’clock at night just for a few hours would have a great impact because during that time is when all the break-ins happen,” Hess said.

Both Hess and Wilton said they hope as people learn about the difficulties restaurant owners face with break-ins, the visibility will inspire action. Hess encourages Eagle Rock residents to spend time on Colorado later at night to support businesses and deter crime.

“We’re all mom-and-pop shops, so we’re not rich. We’re trying to make a living here and we definitely need the support of the locals in Eagle Rock to come support mom-and-pop places,” Hess said. “At the end of the night, past 9 o’clock, it’s dark out. We need more people out and about, we need people walking their dogs a little bit later.”