The Los Angeles Police department has an interesting warning for people shopping on Melrose Avenue and in the jewelry district in downtown Los Angeles after shoppers have been attacked: don't wear high end jewelry in public.
Two more violent robberies in the area last week caused LAPD to put out the bulletin warning people, because the street robberies, which started last fall, haven’t gone away.
Last Thursday a pair of masked men tried to steal an expensive watch from a couple inside a store on Melrose Avenue. LAPD officers were flagged down, and they fired at the robbers, but they got away.
Then Friday, three armed men stole a watch from another couple walking near Rosewood and Harper.
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The incidents prompted a new community alert from the LAPD, warning people to be aware of the ongoing crime trend of robbers following people and stealing their belongings, often high end jewelry or designer handbags.
Tourists still shopping Monday say they understood the risks.
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“I leave all my pearls, crystals I wear around my neck and rings at home," Matthew Rooney said.
Security expert Louis Perry believes the crimes continue because of lenient sentencing laws.
“I think the criminals are getting more brazen. The crimes they’re committing which are serious crimes, they’re getting a slap on the wrist," Perry said.
LAPD issued a similar safety alert last year during a rash of smash-and-grab and follow-home robberies. Some business owners along Melrose Avenue say the ongoing crime has forced some retailers out of business.
"It’s not good for business. I mean… leave all your stuff at home? Why bother going? There’s other places to go," Dominick Deluca, the owner of Brooklyn Projects, said.
The LAPD is warning people not to wear high-end jewelry when walking to and from restaurants, stores, and clubs, not to leave belongings inside parked cars, and if you think you’re being followed, dial 911 and -- if possible -- drive to the nearest police station.
“If you’re not paying attention to your surroundings, you’re high likelihood of becoming a victim," Perry said.
Police are still looking for the suspects from the two incidents last week.