Tag: Santa Monica Polcie Department

SMPD Arrest Two Suspects For Catalytic Converter Thefts

June 30, 2023 ·

SANTA MONICA—The Santa Monica Police Department arrested two suspects for grand theft on June 28, after they were allegedly found in possession of stolen catalytic converters. 

“At approximately 3am, the Santa Monica Emergency Dispatch Center received two calls regarding the sound of sawing and metal being cut in the area of Highland and Ocean Park,” said a statement released on the SMPD Twitter account.  “Officers arrived and conducted a traffic stop in the area resulting in the recovery of 3 catalytic converters, saws and other tools.”

The suspects were identified as Andrew Diaz and Bryan Lima, both 21 years-old. They were arrested for grand theft and transported to the Santa Monica Jail. 

The Santa Monica City Council motioned to pass a new ordinance on May 24 in response to the high levels of catalytic converter thefts in the city. 

According to the SMPD, in 2022, 312 catalytic converters were stolen, and since January 2023, 215 accounts of catalytic converter thefts were reported as of May 22.  

The ordinance allows police to fine people $500 for possessing unattached catalytic converters if they cannot provide proof of ownership. Police also have the ability to seize the catalytic converters. 

By Paige Strickland

METRO Announces Heightened Security

June 27, 2023 ·

SANTA MONICA—On June 22, the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (METRO) voted to initiate their plan to heighten security by hiring a security force to patrol the areas in and around Metro’s bus and rail operations, including downtown Santa Monica, and Santa Monica’s Metro line.  On June 27, Metro, announced their plans to the public in a press release.

On May 27, METRO’s Board of Directors approved the hiring of 48 new Transit Security officers. 

“The Board’s actions advance the implementation of the agency’s public safety plan, which calls for layered, human-centered approach that makes the system be and feel more safe,” states the Metro website.

“All of these initiatives build upon work we have been doing over the last year to put our public safety plan into action. This plan utilizes proactive response, strategic enforcement, and equitable rule compliance, and is key to maintaining public safety for our customers. We know we have a lot of work to do, but we are clearly making progress in the right direction,” said Stephanie Wiggins, CEO of Metro.

METRO noted that there is a new Code of Conduct posted on all bus and rails dictating expected behavior of the bus and rail passengers.

In an ongoing effort to enhance security and safety, the Santa Monica Police Department  held a motorcycle safety initiative with extra police officers on patrol June 1 and June 2 as well. In addition, on June 30, the SMPD will hold a DUI/Driver’s license checkpoint from 6 p.m. to 3 a.m. at undisclosed locations.

Canyon News reached out to SMPD for comment, but did not hear back in time for print.

The need for more security comes after an influx of crime on or around the Metro line including assaults on riders, and pedestrians waiting for their trains getting pushed onto the rails which has raised safety concerns for authorities to take action.

Two teenagers were arrested in Santa Monica on May 1, for the April 19, assault of a Metro line passenger.  On April 12, a man was beaten and stabbed to death aboard the Metro line in Long Beach.  

By Sharon