Going against an overall downward trend throughout Los Angeles, reported cases of vandalism are up 27% for the first six months of the year in Boyle Heights, compared to the first half of 2018, according to data tracker Crosstown. 

According to the tracker, vandalism was down 4.1% throughout the city during the same time period.

Using publicly available data from the Los Angeles Police Department and the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, Crosstown found there were 387 reported cases of vandalism in Boyle Heights from the start of 2019 until the end of June. An additional 23 cases were just reported this past July. 

Boyle Heights had the second-highest spike in vandalism of all city areas, following Historic South Central, which saw a 3.7% increase (from 145 for the first six months of 2018 to 191 the same period in 2019). But Boyle Heights reported the second highest number of vandalism crimes in the first six months of 2019, following Downtown LA, with 540. Hollywood was a close third, with 386.

Vandalism is defined by the LAPD as “willfully or maliciously” damaging another person’s property without the owner’s consent. LAPD Captain Paul Vernon told Crosstown that it is often difficult to address vandalism as reports are usually made after incidents have already occurred. 

Among other trends, Crosstown reported that while vehicle vandalism decreased during the first half of 2019, the biggest rise –38.7% – was in school vandalism. According to LAPD data, there were 136 cases of vandalism in elementary, middle and high school from January to the end of June.

A review of the data by Boyle Heights Beat found three elementary school vandalism cases reported this year: on Jan. 15 at Murchison Street Elementary School; on March 11 at First Street Elementary School; and on June 29 at Christopher Mena Elementary.

Vandalism was the most committed crime in Boyle Heights in July, according to Crosstown’s Neighborhood Tracker. The neighborhood ranks 65th out of 215 neighborhoods, with a higher ranking denoting a higher crime rate.  

Photo above: a classroom at Murchison Street Elementary School photographed in 2015. The school was vandalized in January.

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Alex Medina

Alex Medina is a graduate of Francisco Bravo Medical Magnet High School and 2018 alumnus of the Boyle Heights Beat. He is a recent graduate of Hamilton College in Central New York where he majored in Hispanic...

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