Holmby Hills Residents:
Please see below and attached information from Pamela Beck, Founder of the Beverly Hills Flats Neighborhood Watch (forwarded to the HHHOA from D. Miller of Holmby Hills South), regarding the rise in crime in the Beverly Hills area, predominately in, but not limited to, the retail district.
Pursuant to the below, there are security tips regarding what to be looking out for, as well as a form letter to write to and email California Senator, Ben Allen, and Assembly Member, Richard Bloom “to take a stand against lawlessness.”
“If you’ve been around Rodeo Drive, Neiman Marcus, or Saks, you have no doubt seen the criminal element overtaking our shopping areas, as well as other parts of our city. As you may know, last week BHPD uncovered the root of this problem.
Here is what I have learned:
- Criminals are stealing identities, getting fraudulent EDD debit cards sent to them in California, coming in droves to collect the cards, and then staying here, shopping 24/7 and causing problems.
- Armed with numerous stolen identities, they apply for and receive multiple government issued debit cards worth as much as $20,000 per card. They have the debit cards mailed to Airbnb’s or to homes for sale. They then travel here and collect their “mail.” Some of these criminals have gotten as many as 50 of these $20,000 debit cards. This is happening all over the state, and nationally as well.
- They also use these fraudulent cards at ATM machines where they can claim up to $1000 a day.
Where is all this money coming from? Your hard-earned California tax dollars.
Does your government In California care? Are they doing anything to help solve this problem? Apparently not. The response the EDD office has given BHPD is: “You’ll have to solve this on a local level. Our technology isn’t strong enough.”
The result? Our state is hemorrhaging millions of dollars that COULD have gone to education, health care, mental health, drug addiction programs – and to upgrading our antiquated systems. If our government can’t track these EDD cards and issue them responsibly – what else can’t they track?
Not only is Sacramento failing to address this mess, but many of the merchants in BH are also complicit. Rather than requiring ID checks, some are simply accepting these bogus debit cards and racking up sales. As long as merchants continue to accept the cards, the criminals will continue to come here.
To discourage this criminal behavior, BHPD has “strongly suggested” (they can’t mandate) that the Rodeo Drive merchants stop accepting cash or EDD debit cards, and that they require ID’s with credit cards. Hermes voluntarily adapted this policy. Thankfully others are beginning to follow suit.
BHPD is working closely with law enforcement and the highest level of leadership throughout LA and the nation. California has been the hardest hit because we give the most aid.
You may also want to know:
- In the last week, BHPD has made 44 arrests. A total of 129 fraudulent EDD cards have been recovered with a value over 2.5 million dollars. They have also seized over $289,000 in cash.
- BHPD seized 7 handguns carried by the suspects or found in their car.
- The consequences for those arrested for identity theft? Because of California’s Zero Bail policy, despite the fact that identity theft is a felony, they are jailed only 4-8 hours, long enough to process. They are then released to commit these crimes all over again.
- I’m hearing reports from various BH residents that they are experiencing more follow-homes, robberies, etc.
Until we solve this problem, it will only get worse. Since some of these bad actors are armed, this is clearly a disaster waiting to happen.
What can you do?
Flood our California representatives with emails and phone calls, letting them know that you’ve had it.
For your convenience, I’ve drafted a sample email and listed the names/contact info for our representatives below. I encourage you to make some modifications so that this doesn’t appear to be a form letter – but any letter will do. The city has just issued a press release. In case you haven’t seen it, I’ve attached it below.
BHPD can’t do it alone. They need our help.
FIGHTING CRIME – BLOCK BY BLOCK
Founder, BHFlats Neighborhood Watch
Senator Ben Allen
Assembly Member Richard Bloom
Dear (Name of CA representative),
It’s outrageous what is going on in California right now, with criminals stealing identities, applying for and receiving multiple government issued EDD debit cards, some worth as much as $20,000. As a result, criminals from all over are coming in droves (many from out of state), causing havoc in our cities, and spending our hard earned taxpayer dollars on luxury items. Certainly could not have been the intention of EDD debit cards.
Why is our government failing so abysmally at monitoring and tracking the issuing of these cards? And why is our government not agreeing to assist police in dealing with this problem? It’s a government created problem – and we (our city and PD) are being told that we need to solve it on a local level, that your technology isn’t strong enough.
The result of this massive failure? Our state is hemorrhaging millions of dollars that could have gone to education, health care, mental health, drug addition programs, prison reform (teaching criminals skills that would make them productive/independent once released – NOT defunding the police!), or updating our antiquated systems. If our government can’t track EDD cards and issue them responsibly – what else can’t they track or manage?
Thanks to Sacramento’s screw ups, and thanks to Sacramento’s Zero Bail Policy, these felons are being held for 4-8 hours, long enough to be processed. They are then released to commit these crimes all over again. Meanwhile our cities are facing unprecedented amounts of follow-homes and robberies.
You and your colleagues need to get your act together. We will not stand for the lawlessness that our representatives in California are permitting to happen.