There have been more than 1,400 residential burglaries in the Valley so far this year, a 25 percent increase in such crimes.
A spike in "knock-knock" burglaries plaguing the San Fernando Valley prompted City Councilman Mitchell Englander Wednesday to call for a $50,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the culprits.
So far this year, the San Fernando Valley has been home to the bulk of LA's burglaries with more than 1,400 residential burglaries in the Valley. The region has experienced a 25 percent spike in home burglaries. Citywide, there have been more than 1,700 residential burglaries in 2017.
According to the Los Angeles Police Department's Knock-Knock Burglary Task Force, "Knock-Knock Burglars are organized and target affluent single-family residences located within the San Fernando Valley. The members of these Knock-Knock criminal groups are usually comprised of criminal street gang members who claim territory in the South Los Angeles area. They select homes based on the likelihood of having money, jewelry, and/or firearms within the residence. They are known to knock on the front door to determine if the residence is unoccupied. Once they determine the residence is unoccupied, they gain entry through a rear door, side door or second floor balcony and have been known to disable the alarm."
"`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.
A series of high profile burglaries in the Valley has increased pressure on authorities to tamp down the trend.
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.