Capt. Ivan Minsal of the Van Nuys Police Divison gave residents tips on how to protect their property Wednesday night at the Sherman Oaks Homeowners Association meeting at Notre Dame High School.
Minsal said that the type of crime that Sherman Oaks residents had to be most concerned about was crime against property, from leaving personal items unattended in the workplace to walking away from their vehicles with a GPS left on the windshield.
He read out a list of recently reported stolen property in Sherman Oaks: a package containing a computer left on a porch; an iPhone left on a counter at a bank; and workers' tools stolen during a home remodeling were all among the items that were brought to the attention of the LAPD.
"I need you to be the eyes and ear of your police department," said Minsal. "We are only as effective in fighting crime as you allow us to be.”
If residents witness a crime in progress, Minsal said that they should take appropriate action.
“I'm not asking you to break out your AK-47 if you have one," said Minsal, "I’m asking you to pick up the phone and dial 911."
He also said that people should look be on the lookout for anything suspicious in their neighborhood.
"If you see an unusual car driving up and down your street for a couple of days, they’re looking for an easy target," said Minsal, "if you left the door open, you just made it easy for them.”
He also spoke about "personal theft," referring to the loss of items such as "keys, phone, wallets, purses, social security number and driver's license," and offered the following advice: "Ladies, if you carry a purse, make sure you keep it closed so no one can stick their hand in there." He also mentioned the importance of children keeping their school backpacks safe.
The Captain's overarching message was that locals should be aware, keep an eye on their safety and the safety of their neighbors and contact the LAPD when necessary, either by calling 911 during an emergency or by calling the station with something less urgent.
"Be proactive, go out there and make a difference," said Minsal.
Click on the video above for an excerpt of Minsal's talk at the Sherman Oaks Homeowners Association meeting.