WEST HOLLYWOOD, Calif. - A crime wave over West Hollywood has residents concerned and is even baffling to law enforcement.
The latest data shows crime is up by more than 130% in the popular city. The data was revealed by the West Hollywood Sheriff’s Station when officials looked at crime statistics from February 2021 to February 2022.
Some common crimes include aggravated assault, murder, rape, burglaries, arson, and human trafficking, authorities said.
"Everything happened fast and unexpectedly," Julia recalls about a night out in West Hollywood. She was the victim of an unprovoked attack at a club. "He just takes a glass from the table that they had and just smashed it at my head."
She represents one of many victims caught in the middle of the crime wave.
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"It’s very concerning," said Sgt. Michael Yost with the West Hollywood Sheriff’s Station. Overall, crime is up 137% from a year ago.
"We had a large spike of robberies regarding jewelry and people being followed home from establishments," Sgt. Yost added.
The increase in crime is also being noticed by private security companies.
"These criminals have absolutely no fear," said Russell Stewart, owner of the Force Protection Agency.
Stewart said West Hollywood and Beverly Hills are popular areas for criminals because "people are always out on the streets. You have a lot of fashionable people who wear nice things…there’s also a lot of high-end stores that have been constant targets and I just think that the criminals go where the people are."
West Hollywood Mayor Lauren Meister said it’s not just happening in West Hollywood.
"There’s been a rise in crime everywhere, not just West Hollywood. In the whole Los Angeles region," she said.
Mayor Meister added it’s important to remember that a year ago, most people were home due to the coronavirus pandemic, so the crime rate was much lower.
Still, she admits people in West Hollywood have recently experienced a lot of theft.
During the height of the pandemic, the city cut sheriff’s personnel by three sworn officers and security by 20%. Now, the mayor wants to bring them back to help prevent crime.
"My advice is to be aware of your surroundings," she said.
West Hollywood officials continue to discuss possible solutions.
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