“Right place at right time” nets burglary suspects

Deputy assigned to "mission specific" team to address smash-and-grab burglaries at commercial storefront businesses studies evidence in early morning operation. photo by Austin Dave, The Signal.

For the second night in a row local sheriff’s deputies have disrupted a burglary in progress, a success Santa Clarita Valley’s top cop attributes to a “predictive” crime fighting approach, paying attention to what’s happening in neighborhood “zones” and a collaboration with SCV citizens.

“What I’m satisfied about most is that we are receiving calls from the public about what has to be addressed,” Captain Robert Lewis of the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station told The Signal Friday.

“This is a collaboration between us and the public,” he said. “And the reason for the success is being in the right place at the right time.”


Early morning operation aimed at commercial burglaries. photo by Austin Dave, The Signal.

Identifying the “right place at the right time,” Lewis said, is the cornerstone of “predictive policing” strategy.

And, the best way to identity “the right place at the right time” is to take a long hard look at what zone leaders are seeing in their respective neighborhoods, Lewis said.

“I asked (Burglary/Theft) Sgt. Chris Maurizi to take a look at commercial burglaries and he came up with a general district,” Lewis said.

Sheriff’s officials identified a trend this year in the number of smash-and-grab burglaries of storefront businesses in the SCV since January.

Once detectives had what they believed was the “right place” they went back to the data collected by zone leaders and came up with what they believed was the “right time.”

With regards to the most recent operation, that time was 5:19 a.m. Friday.

Mission Specific
“Last night was a mission specific operation,” Lewis said. “We put together a team to go after commercial burglaries.”

The “mission specific” operation carried out early Friday morning was specifically aimed at smash-and-grab burglaries at commercial storefront businesses.

Operation targeting burglars unfolds in the early morning hours of Friday. photo by Austin Dave, The Signal.

Deputies on the assembled team went looking for a smash-and-grab burglary and found one promptly after getting a call at 5:19 a.m. in Valencia.

Two people were seen smashing the front glass window of a building near Dickason Drive. When deputies arrived, the suspect were still in the building, Deputy Chris Craft, spokesman for the SCV Sheriff’s Station.

Deputies detained two suspects at location and recovered several laptops, iPads and alcohol they allegedly stole from the building.

Both suspects have prior arrests and theft lengthy arrest records. Both suspects are on probation for prior thefts.

“They’ve had a lot of success with operation,” Craft said. “The public sees the units are out actively working in the area.”

In addition to two commercial burglary arrests, one person was arrested for possession of methamphetamine, one person for narcotic paraphernalia and one for an outstanding warrant.

In May, a “suppression patrol” team addressing the smash-and-grab trend arrested three people on warrants and on narcotics related offenses.

On Wednesday, “suppression patrol” team went into a suspected high crime area where they arrested nine people disrupting a burglary and thwarting a robbery while each of the respective crimes were unfolding.

A similar “suppression patrol” carried out earlier this month saw the arrest of a dozen suspects including two burglary suspects and a robbery suspect.

Crunching the zone data
“Our service areas of Santa Clarita Valley are divided into eight zones. Each zone is monitored and managed by a Crime Prevention deputy who looks at incidents of reported crimes and keeps track of crime trends.

“We need to develop our crime prevention mission and goals through predictive policing,” Lewis said earlier this month.

“This entails identifying areas where crimes are frequently occurring, and making an action plan,” he said.

Zone leaders compile weekly comprehensive crime summaries which include all crimes reported in their respective zones – big or small.

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on Twitter @jamesarthurholt

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