BEVERLY HILLS (CBSLA) - While the City of Beverly Hills already has private security in place, given the rise in violent crime, and a recent murder, the city is adding five new police officer to its ranks and increasing patrols.
"So, there has been an uptick in crime in Beverly Hills and I think the residents and the business owners don't feel as secure as they did maybe before," Beverly Hills Police Chief Mark Stainbrook said.
Just as the chief said that, a report of three people in ski masks entering a home less than two miles away from the police department came in.
CBSLA was with the chief when he headed to the scene, where a chopper hovered overhead and an army of officers were on the street. Neighbors said they'd been told to go inside because of a possible armed suspect.
"Over the last couple of weeks, we've had a number of incidents in town and everybody is a little on edge," neighbor Noah Furey said.
The call turned out to be a false alarm, kids in costumes, playing, but the chief said it showed that while the city is skittish, police are ready to roll.
"I think we were talking earlier that people are a little bit on edge," the chief said. "People are vigilant, people are letting us know and we have the ability to respond very quickly and take care of a problem if we need to."
The nerves come after a string of what police call follow-home-robberies targeting affluent neighborhoods, multiple armed robberies on the street, attempted smash-and-grabs burglaries at the Louis Vuitton and Saks stores, and the deadly home invasion that killed 81-year-old philanthropist Jacqueline Avant.
In response, Beverly Hills Police are deploying more of their officers and doubling the number of patrols by two security firms they've teamed up with since last summer.
The chief said at the root of all this is the sense criminals think they can do the crime and won't have to do the time.
"Literally, we're arresting the same people again and again and letting them right out to commit more crime. So, if you look at Mrs. Avant's case, that individual has a lengthy criminal history. He was out on parole and he was out committing crime. He should never have ever been out in the first place," Chief Stainbrook said.
To bolster their efforts, the department announced Saturday that five new officers will start on Monday, with the force actively recruiting others to join them.
for more features.