At a Neighborhood Watch meeting for NoHo West, basic car area 15A21, in February 2017 we heard an update from the North Hollywood LAPD Gang Unit.

There are many reasons gangs exist, including but not limited to: socio-economic, wanting to belong, protection, friendship, connecting. That is one of the reasons LAPD tries to have programs for children to participate in instead of joining a gang.

It is very important, should we see anything suspicious, to call the North Hollywood LAPD Gang Unit immediately at 818-754-8331. Most of the time a person will answer and send your detailed information on to the members of the unit.

The Gang Unit is guided by what they see and what the community tells them. Graffiti is a specific way gangs communicate with members of their own gangs, other gangs and members of the community. By identifying the tags, officers have direct information about who is active, alliances, etc. For example, you might see a gang tag crossed out and another one inserted. That may mean one gang does not like the other, or is trying to insert their influence on the other’s “turf”.

If you observe active tagging, please call 9-1-1. There is often a 2nd person as a look-out for police or rivals, so do not engage the tagger as either he, or the unseen lookout may be armed. It is very important, should you see graffiti, to take a picture if safe and send it with date, time and location to any member of the Gang Unit. Officer Alex Lim provided his cell phone number: 818-253-9524 and e-mail address 41069@lapd.online so that information can be collected and analyzed. Additionally, please follow up your report of Graffiti by calling 3-1-1 or using the on-line website: myla311.lacity.org to request removal of the graffiti.

Working with the community solves problems and can stop bad things from happening. The Gang Unit uses intelligence gathered and enforcement to control gang activity in our community.

There are between 500-700 gang members in the North Hollywood Division though not all of them are active. There are three main gangs: North Hollywood Locos (NHLS), Mara Salvatrucha (MS) and Alley Locos (ALS). You may see these tags with the number 13 attached. This means the gang is blessed/supported/protected by the Mexican Mafia. The Vanowen Apartments, between Ethel and Atoll have a large population of NHLS, the oldest established gang. The MS gang members are primarily from El Salvador and tend to be younger. They look for guidance/protection and many end up joining the gang.

We know who lives in our neighborhood. It is not racist to report people that we have not seen before that could be in our neighborhood to cause trouble. It is important to report these folks to the Gang Unit. It is up to the Gang Unit to investigate and determine if there is a problem. For example, if there is a vacant house in our neighborhood, and all of a sudden there seems to be unexpected people around it or in it, it could become a “squatter house” for drugs, or other illegal activity. This is the type of information SLO Carol and The Gang Unit is interested in learning about.

Do not be afraid to call! It is our neighborhood and the police are there to help us enjoy it. They are there to prevent crime form occurring. You know who belongs in your neighborhood.

There is something called an Extra Patrol Request. An Extra Patrol Request may be for a vacation check, a strange occurrence or something that just doesn’t seem right. When you leave town for a while or you just have the issue with that strange car or person that makes you nervous during that strange hour of day or night. It may not always be a crime, but LAPD can check that out for you. Whenever you have the need for an extra patrol in your neighborhood, please contact the North Hollywood LAPD Front Desk in person or at 818-754-8300 and request an extra patrol. As the NH LAPD finds a moment based on priority and emergencies that are in queue, they can check on your concern. When calling for an extra patrol, please be ready with the dates requested, your name and telephone number, the location to be given special attention, any specific time of day of your concern, and the reason for your request. It would be helpful for them to have a person they can contact for you in the event of emergency or problem at your location. For example: if they need to verify why someone is inside your home.

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