Celebrities heavily targeted in recent street and follow home robberies
Over the past twelve months, celebrities and individuals of substantial wealth have been the primary targets of over one hundred street and follow home robberies in Los Angeles. Many of the suspects were armed with high-powered weapons. Some of them used deadly force; killing their victims in the process. This article explores the recent uptick of those robberies. It aims to identify potential reasons why the elite of Hollywood have been targeted by ruthless criminals that are willing to kill to get what they want. It explores what the Los Angeles Police Department is doing to combat and investigate the crimes. And finally, readers will get our “Top Tips for Entertainers and People of High-Net-Worth” to better protect themselves and their families while at home or out on the town in the Los Angeles area.
Home for the World’s Favorite People
Los Angeles, California is the epicenter for the rich and famous of Los Angeles. Seeing movie stars, tv personalities, professional athletes, and business moguls cruising Rodeo Drive is a daily occurrence. You can also catch glimpses of them eating at local restaurants and shopping at their favorite stores. A good majority of the celebrities, athletes, and moguls live in Beverly Hills, Sherman Oaks, Encino, Bel-Air, or nearby. Often they are approachable, and if you’re lucky, you may even be able to squeeze in a selfie with them. In our experience, many of our customers who live in L.A. are very comfortable in their environment and prefer not to have security every time they go out.
Celebrities being attacked ad nauseam
Since the beginning of 2021, the LAPD has seen an uptick in violent street robberies and follow-home invasions of celebrities and people of affluence. When Lady Gaga’s dog walker, Ryan Fischer, was shot and her dogs stolen in February of 2021, LAPD Assistant Chief Beatrice Girmala called it a “disturbing trend,” telling the L.A. Police Commission that eighteen robbery victims were shot in L.A in just the first 65 days of the year, compared with just one during the same period last year.
That trend of violent attacks on celebrities and affluent individuals is undoubtedly continuing. Some believe it is becoming even more deadly. Let’s look at three notable incidents that occurred over the past forty-five days in Los Angeles.
On October 27, 2021, Real House Wives of Beverly Hills, Reality T.V. star Dorit Kemsley was home with her two small children when armed masked men broke into her home through a patio door. Reportedly, one of the intruders said, “Just kill her already,” as Kemsley begged for her life and the lives of her children, she said.
November 10, 2021 – Actor/TV Host Terrence Jenkins, known as Terrence J, was followed home and shot at in his Sherman Oaks neighborhood. According to a Fox LA news report, Jenkins was followed home after a night out on the town. Upon his arrival, a silver jeep attempted to block his vehicle. Jenkins spotted the suspects and was able to drive away. The suspects gave chase and fired a firearm at Jenkin’s fleeing vehicle. His home is now up for sale.
On December 2, 2021, Jacqueline Avant, wife of renowned music executive Clarence Avant, the Black Godfather, as seen on Netflix, was killed by a lone gunman during a home invasion similar to the Dorit Kemsley burglary. That suspect was arrested a few hours later after shooting himself in the foot with his own AR-15. That firearm is suspected as the gun used in the shooting death of Mrs. Avant.
L.A. Crime Highest in Affluent Areas
Most of the robberies are occurring in the affluent parts of L.A. The Wilshire area may be the hardest hit, as Wilshire is a popular eating and shopping attraction for fine dining and high-end fashion. Several of the robberies were caught on video. Law enforcement officials state that the robbers are surveilling their victims before robbing them and have been known to follow their victims as far as fifty miles. The culprits target people with expensive jewelry, cars, clothes, and designer bags. The robbers also steal jewelry and high-value designer items during the home invasions.
Citizens Beware – You don’t have to be a celebrity to be robbed in Los Angeles. Many of the street robberies have been of ordinary citizens or those who appear to have financial means. Citizens are also targeted based on what they drive and wear, including clothing, jewelry, and personal items such as high-end designer handbags. This video shows a couple being robbed while in the Hot Wings Restaurant in Los Angeles.
What is LAPD doing to combat and investigate this problem?
On November 23, 2021, LAPD Chief Michel Moore announced his launching of a Robbery Homicide task force following a robbery ending with the fatal shooting of a man on the patio of Bossa Nova restaurant on Sunset Boulevard. The task force will have over twenty detectives, said Moore. He also added that his department is currently investigating 133 incidents believed to be follow-home robberies. A recent Los Angeles Times article put that number at 150 incidents.
Several arrests have been made since Chief Moore’s Follow-Home-Robbery-Homicide Task Force hit the streets. The arrests include the man responsible for the murder of Jackie Avant and four men arrested on Christmas Eve for the homicide and robbery at the Bosa Nova restaurant. Sources close to the investigation tell us that the Task Force is looking at the suspects in the Bosa Nova robbery-homicide for a number of other recent robberies.
Despite the arrests on Christmas eve the robberies continue to occur. As unfortunately, another victim was shot in the head on Christmas day during a robbery in North Hollywood. In a recent news interview, one LAPD detective compared the recent crime wave to the movie the Purge.
We’re in a very volatile time in our society. Curtailing these crimes may take some time but we have faith that Chief Moore and the LAPD are doing everything in their power to keep the community safe and investigate the crimes.
Contributing factors into the recent crime wave
While the robberies may appear to be connected to gang activity, some experts believe the recent crime wave results from the strain COVID-19 put on the lower and middle class. In 2020, the Los Angeles unemployment rate spiked to nearly twenty percent. In January 2021, when the robberies and burglaries began, the L.A. unemployment rate hovered almost as high as thirteen percent. L.A.’s unemployment rate currently sits just under eight percent.
Other Contributing Factors
According to reports, all robbery victims were targeted because they looked wealthy. The reports specifically state perpetrators go after victims based on the victim:
- Wearing expensive jewelry
- Driving expensive vehicles
- Wearing designer bags and high-end fashion
- Living in expensive/exclusive communities
- Showing pictures of homes and flaunting wealth on social media
How can celebrities, athletes, VIPS and high-net-worth individuals living in Los Angeles better Protect themselves
If you are a celebrity, professional athlete, VIP, or well-to-do person visiting or living in the L.A. area, you run the risk of being victimized. Fortunately, there are some things you can do to help protect yourself and your families at home and while out and about.
The first rule of minimizing risks is understanding your assets and what impact a loss of the assets would have (financially, emotionally, reputationally, etc.). Assets can be anything of value, including yourself, your family, your home, your car, etc. After identifying your assets, it is vital to determine what risks the assets are susceptible to (robbery, burglary, kidnapping, theft, fire, etc.). Thirdly, you must identify vulnerabilities that create exposure to victimization (lack of cameras or home security cameras and systems, lack of security personnel, online social media habits, etc). Once this information is gathered and understood, security alternatives to protect against the threats can be implemented.
Security away from home
As mentioned earlier in this article, many public figures and well-to-do people do not have security. One, because they want to feel like regular people, and two, because full-time bodyguards and security personnel can be expensive. However, having security does protect from threats, media, and fans. Traveling with security also provides convenience in transportation and entering and departing venues. Therefore we highly recommend hiring professional executive protection agents and bodyguards in Los Angeles. We believe the benefits outweigh the cost, especially when you consider that in one L.A. street robbery, the victim lost a rare watch worth $500,000 – enough to pay for a three-person security team for three years.
When our team analyzed the recent spate of L.A. home burglaries, we noticed that nearly ninety percent of the burglarized homes had no security measures or inadequate security measures. Homes that appear more formidable are passed over for easier targets. Homes with security measures that detect threats, deter them, delay them and defend against them provide the best protection.
Homeowners must always be concerned for their safety and their family members’ safety. Here are a few things that could improve the security posture at their homes:
- Exterior and landscape lighting – A well-lit home provides solid defense, as most criminals are opportunists and do not want to be seen.
- Signage – Beware of Dog, alarm company signs and stickers, and video surveillance signs work well to deter criminals.
- Alarm systems – A home without an alarm system is aksing for trouble. We recommend install alarm systems that connect directly to local law enforcement and fire for quick response.
- Privacy gates and fencing – Fencing also provides protecting. Installed fences should be at least six feet high to protect against onlookers and prevent access to your property. All access points should have locking mechanisms.
- Privacy hedges and shrubbery – Dense hedges of at least 6 feet high can be used as a perimeter defense around properties. Hedges and shrubbery with briar, thorny, and pointed leaves and branches coupled with protective fencing provides excellent security.
- Dogs – Dogs are great protectors. The Cane Corso breed is a popular protection dog. If considering a dog, consult a good breeder/trainer.
- Residential Security Agents – If you can afford them, Residential Security Agents are worth their weight in gold. A well-trained team can provide protection twenty-fours around the clock.
- Safe rooms – As a last line of defense, some people are installing safe rooms in their homes. A basic FEMA-rated safe room (protection from bullets and tornados) costs roughly $6,000 to $15,000. Custom safe rooms will cost a lot more.
- Be low-key – I know that may be hard to do, but posting your affluence and your home on social media is an invite for disaster, just ask Dorit Kemsley and Kim Kardashian.
- Firearms – There has been a heavy demand for firearms and firearm permits from clients living in the Los Angeles area. However, California has some of the most restrictive gun laws in the country. As a “May Issue” state the issuance of a permit is left entirely up to the discretion of the local sheriff. Regardless, celebrities, business moguls, athletes, and other VIPS are signing up for firearm and self-defense classes at a never seen before rate.
Street robberies and follow-home burglaries of celebrities and affluent individuals in Los Angeles are at an all-time high. News outlets and spokesmen from the LAPD equate the recent rise in violent crimes to the movie “The Purge.” People of notoriety and high net worth are often the targets. Expensive jewelry and fashion items are the booty of choice, with some victims losing hundreds of thousands in just one robbery. The robbers are becoming increasingly aggressive, with shots being fired in over twenty robberies resulting in several deaths, including Jackie Avant, wife of famed record executive Clarence Avant.
Los Angeles entertainment and business elites are beginning to take their security seriously after the death of Mrs. Avant. Security firms have experienced a high demand for executive protection, bodyguards, and residential security services in the Los Angeles area. There has also been a high demand for security consulting to design, install, and upgrade home security systems, surveillance cameras, safe rooms, security fences, and lighting in residential homes.
And finally, there has been a dramatic increase in the demand for firearms, firearm training, and applications for concealed carry permits. California is one of the most restrictive states regarding weapons; however, if you feel like you need a gun and meet the requirements, we recommend applying for your gun permit with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s office.
Los Angeles will always be a favorite place to hang out, but we recommend using caution and common sense if you do. Watch what you wear. Pay attention to your surroundings. Travel with large groups, and if you can afford security, we recommend that you hire a couple of bodyguards to accompany you while out on the town in L.A.
For information about security consulting, executive protection, bodyguards, or residential security, contact our office at 301-423-2636 or email us at email@example.com.