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Update: Crime Prompts Rogers Police Forum Tonight

Long Beach commander to gather the community's parents and answer questions about school lock down protocol and update the Jan. 31 Belmont Park break-in of occupied house by hooded intruders.

Updated at 4:30 p.m. with additional crime concerns beyond the burglary mentioned.

Belmont Shore area parents and other residents concerned about crime including last month's Belmont Park armed burglary have been invited to a community meeting tonight at Rogers Middle School with Long Beach Police Commander Michael Beckman.

Beckman, commander of the East Division that includes the Shore, Naples, Belmont Heights and other nearby neighborhoods, said he wanted to inform people of good safety precautions and updates for those alarmed by the Jan. 31 break-in and gunfire, which did not wound the resident.

The meeting starts at 6 p.m. and should last about an hour in the Rogers Auditorium, into which you enter from Monrovia, between Appian Way and Vista Avenue.

Two parents had inquired with the Lowell Elementary School principal Sam Platis about campus lockdown procedures, Beckman said, and that led him to reach out to Rogers Middle School Principal Tom Huff. Then he spoke with Lowell PTA President Kim Erkman and Rogers PTA President Andy Walker, to pull the school communities together to meet.

"In a nutshetll, I thought it was a good opportunity to give [people] sone insight to what happened that day, our police response, children's safety, some lockdown protocols," said Beckman. "The principals thought it would be a good idea to call parents....Councilman Gary DeLong and Tom Hickma, the Long Beach Unified School District school safety police chief, will also be there.

"I'm hoping for a good crowd," added Beckman, "and I'm ooking forward to hopefully reassure parents...to allay some fears."

Residents were rightly alarmed to learn hooded intruders had kicked in the front door of a home in the 300 block of Santa Ana, near Appian Way sometime after about 8 a.m. that morning two weeks ago. Mom and son had pulled away to school drop-off, and Dad told Patch he went to shower.

There was an odd thud, and the Dad said he rushed out with a towel into the hallway. Three figures with black hoodies were in the hall; one fired a gun at Dad and he said it lodged in the door he then ran behind. He did not want his name used because the suspects aren't in custody.

His wife returned home to find the door had been kicked or broken down and he heard her calling his name, which is when he called 9-1-1. Police patrol cars lined up near the Appian Way corner as a police chopper circled above. Hundreds of students and their parents were walking, cycling or driving through the area, bound for the schools.

But on Wednesday, Patch readers added some other recent crime increases in the neighborhoods of Belmont Shore, including bike and purse theft, robberies and auto break-ins.

Jacqui Viale February 15, 2012 at 04:51 PM
I believe the neighborhood concern did not arise solely from this one incident. There have been a number of robberies leading up to this, including a brazen mass purse snatching at a house party in the Heights the weekend before. Car break-ins and theft of bikes and other equipment have seemed to be much more common. I think the concern is more about this gradual, yet alarming, increase. Can't hurt to review safety procedures and maybe start some visible neighborhood watch programs.
John B. Greet February 15, 2012 at 06:42 PM
Wise words and great proactive approach, Jacqui. Because the police cannot possibly be everywhere all the time, it is ultimately each adult's responsibility to be aware of even the most basic crime prevention techniques and employ them whenever possible.
Nancy Wride (Editor) February 15, 2012 at 08:42 PM
I will be there. I think its a smart idea. I had not heard about the purse snatching. Can you blog about that to share some details, Jacqui? The commander did say that specific questions about the lock down procedure prompted him to initially reach out to the school folks, etc. But it sounds like it was perhaps a tipping point. See you there! Anyone else going?
Sally Reid February 15, 2012 at 09:50 PM
Jacqui is right, this is what my friends and I were discussing recently. It is not one incident by a gradual increase and sometimes things happen that we don't find out about since all of us are busy coming and going and living our lives
tinytom February 16, 2012 at 04:56 PM
How things have changed to have "lock downs" at schools. You do what you have to do but it ain't Mayberry anymore obviously.
tinytom February 17, 2012 at 03:56 AM
Sure glad we got that "peace dividend" from the collapse of the Soviet Union. So, what invisible power promoted the war on terror to enrich our lives?

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