Silver Lake shop owners organize against crime

NeighborhoodWatchLogo.JPGLast year, a nail salon near Nadine Trujillo’s Silver Lake restaurant was held up at gun point during an afternoon robbery. A few weeks earlier, gunshots rang out during a midday shooting near a Sunset Boulevard shopping center.  Since then, Sunset Boulevard merchants have also had to contend with less violent but more frequent minor crime and vandalism ranging from tagging of glass and walls to pilfering and vagrancy.  In response to crime concerns, Trujillo and other business owners are tonight holding a meeting of a newly formed Sunset Business Neighborhood Watch program.  “We want to help prevent crime by letting everyone know that we are ‘watching,'” said Trujillo, owner of Alegria restaurant.

Trujillo, who is co chair of the Silver Lake Neighborhood Council’s Public Safety Committee, said she wants the business watch, modeled on the more common neighborhood watch programs,  to help improve communication among business owners, residents and the two LAPD divisions – Northeast and Rampart – that share Sunset Boulevard as a border.

“Besides signs, we will establish strong lines of communication with each other. The very same thing that works for resident programs will work for us,” said Trujillo said by email. “The SLNC Public Safety Committee wants to have the Neighborhood Watch  established all over our Silver Lake community and join with our surrounding communities to form strong lines of communication.”

The Sunset Business Neighborhood Watch, which would stretch from Sunset Boulevard and Manzanita on the west to Sunset and Waterloo on the east, could also help educate store employees and managers about how to properly report crime.  After a man recently ran out of a Silver Lake chain drug store with cases of beer, Trujillo discovered that employees did not provide a description of the suspect or video tape of the incident when they reported the crime to police.

“Many businesses are run by managers instead of the owners during operating hours,” Trujillo said. “This is where we need to educate our employees on appropriate procedures.”

Tonight’s meeting, which will held at 7 p.m. at the Living Room furniture store, 3531 Sunset Blvd., will include representatives from the Northeast and Rampart divisions as well as officials of Council District 13 and Council District 4.

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