In response to a spike in so-called "knock-knock" burglaries in the San Fernando Valley in 2017, City Councilman Mitchell Englander submitted a motion today offering a $50,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of anyone responsible.
Los Angeles has experienced more than 1,700 residential burglaries this year, and the San Fernando Valley has seen a 25 percent increase, with more than 1,400.
Police say a great deal of them are the result of "knock-knock" burglary teams, where the suspects knock on the front door of a home to determine of anyone is inside before breaking in.
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"'Knock-knock' crews are very sophisticated, they know exactly what they are doing,'' Englander said at a news conference at City Hall. "They knock on the door and then somebody else will wait on the side of the house."
Although the motion said the reward would be for information related to "knock-knock" burglaries in 2017, Englander said the reward would apply to information on any burglary.
"In order to be eligible for the reward, all you have to do is report that you have some information that could lead to the apprehension and conviction of a burglary. That's it. It doesn't have to be a 'knock-knock' burglary," he said.
The burglaries have spiked in particular in the northwest valley, in neighborhoods like Porter Ranch, Chatsworth and Granada Hills, which are patrolled by the Los Angeles Police Department's Devonshire Division and have experienced a 68 percent increase this year in burglaries.
Police said that multiple crews with no affiliation are responsible for many of the burglaries, and that they have made arrests of gang members from South Los Angeles who travel to the Valley to commit burglaries, often by wearing suits and driving expensive cars to blend in with the upscale neighborhoods.
"These individuals have been operating in the Valley for some time and they have really taken it to the next level from the beginning of the year," said Commander Jorge Rodriguez of the Valley Bureau.
Englander said there are a number of precautions that residents can take, including not opening the door if a stranger is knocking but to let them know in some way that there is someone inside.