A man walking down Glenwood Road, laptop in hand, is robbed at gunpoint by two men who pull up on a motorcycle. An armed gunman barges into a T-Mobile store on Foothill Boulevard, ransacking the floor as employees and customers huddle on the floor. He makes off with a cell phone.
The brazen robberies are just a couple of the more recent examples of a troubling trend in Glendale, where Police Chief Ron De Pompa said the impact of the court-ordered release of state prison inmates to alleviate overcrowding could be rearing its ugly head.
No one was hurt in the incidents, but robberies like the one Tuesday on Glenwood Road have been on the rise in Glendale this year, fueling an overall 2% increase in violent crimes.
“This is the first time in a couple of years that we have seen an upward trend in violent crimes,” De Pompa said.
Police logged 56 robberies as of June this year, up by 19 compared with the same time last year.
Police have arrested 24 people related to the robberies so far, De Pompa said.
De Pompa said he feared the violent trend would continue because of the early-inmate-release program combined with cuts in public safety funding.
“It will be a big impact to Los Angeles County,” he said.
State prison inmates who are paroled and sent back into the community have a higher rate of reoffending, he added.
Of the 24 people arrested in connection with the robberies, 50% had been incarcerated or were on probation, De Pompa said.
Robbery was the only offense to spike in the violent crime category so far this year.
Overall, for the January-to-June period, property crimes dropped from 1,940 last year to 1,781 this year, an 8% decrease, according to the Police Department.
“Our residents need to be aware,” he said. “They need to do everything in their power not to make themselves easy targets.”
Adams Hill resident Patty Silversher is all too familiar with the impact of crime on her South Glendale neighborhood.
Three years ago, thieves ransacked her home during the day.
“I was quite distraught by it,” said Silversher, a board member for the Adams Hill Neighborhood Assn.
She has been trying to organize a block captain program for every street to keep communication open with area police officers.
“When you’ve got that few of officers in a city as large as Glendale, people really need to be on the lookout for everything,” she said.