LA police forming task force to counter foreign gangs targeting luxury homes

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The Los Angeles Police Department has formed a task force to counter a rise in gangs from Latin America that have been targeting luxury homes in Southern California.  

In a notice last week, the LAPD said it “recognizes the increase in burglaries where homes in affluent neighborhoods are targeted.” 

Joseph Choi speaks to the crowd on hand after he was sworn in as the Los Angeles Chief of Police on Friday, March 1, 2024.

Joseph Choi speaks to the crowd on hand after he was sworn in as the Los Angeles Chief of Police on Friday, March 1, 2024. (David Crane/MediaNews Group/Los Angeles Daily News via Getty Images)

“I can tell you that we have a significant increase in burglaries from organized groups that are outside this country, that are coming into the country, and they are targeting high-end residents,” Chief Dominic Choi said. 

This year alone, the LAPD has recorded more than 900 Los Angeles homes that have been burglarized. The department said it was teaming up with other agencies that have been affected by organized groups coming into the country to engage in this criminal activity. 

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Most of the participants in these gangs are coming from Chile, but law enforcement has seen nationals from other South American countries, including Peru, Ecuador, and Colombia. 

It is believed that many of those involved in these organized crime rings are entering the U.S. by exploiting a 2014 visa waiver that was intended to promote tourism from trusted countries. The waiver allows nations of designated member participants to travel to the U.S. for tourism or business purposes for up to 90 days without obtaining a visa. 

Police officers patrol outside LAPD headquarters in Los Angeles, California February 7, 2013. Authorities in California launched a statewide manhunt on Thursday for former Los Angeles police officer Christopher Jordan Dorner who threatened "warfare" on cops and was suspected in a shooting spree that has killed three and wounded two others. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni (UNITED STATES - Tags: CRIME LAW) - GM1E92808YA01

Los Angeles Police Department headquarters.  (Reuters)

LAPD Deputy Chief Alan Hamilton told the Los Angeles Times that the thieves tend not to carry guns to avoid gun charges.

“They sometimes carry jamming devices to disable home security systems,” he said. 

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Meanwhile, police in Scottsdale, Arizona are investigating a string of crimes related to South American theft groups. Last week, police announced three arrests in so-called “dinner-time burglaries,” FOX 10 reported



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