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Burglars target wealthy neighborhoods in Southern California

April 5, 2012 | 10:08 am

Map shows recent property crime rankings. Click for more information.

Authorities say there has been a rash of burglaries targeting wealthy neighborhoods and beach communities in Southern California, including 100 in the city of Los Angeles alone since the beginning of the year.

Sources familiar with the investigation said they began noticing a surge in these crimes since Thanksgiving, with burglars hitting communities including Studio City, Sherman Oaks, Encino, Woodland Hills, Pacific Palisades, Bel-Air, Playa Vista and Brentwood.

In the last three days, authorities have arrested 13 burglary suspects. The vast majority are parolees and some with past convictions for violent crime, sources told The Times.

Police believe that in many cases, suspects are committing "knock-knock" burglaries. The suspect will knock on the front door. Then, if there is no answer, they will go to the back and break through a window. The burglars have been stealing items such as jewelry and electronics. The items are generally smaller and can be quickly carried out, then sold at pawn shops or swap meets.

The Glendale Polic Department and Los Angeles Police Department will announce Thursday the formation of a new Burglary Task Force that will target burglars operating throughout Southern California. The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department is also part of the recently formed multiagency task force.

Police are urging anyone who sees suspicious activity to immediately call 911.

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-- Andrew Blankstein

Map: Shows property crime rankings in the area from Sept. 5, 2011 to March 4, 2012. Click on the map for more information. Credit: Los Angeles Times

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