City Council Hears Concerns from Residents about Safety in Beverly Hills

In the waning and tumultuous days of 2021, the Beverly Hills City Council heard from residents over safety concerns following a spate of high-profile crimes in the city. At the Council’s Dec. 7 Regular Session, Beverly Hills Police Department (BHPD) Chief Mark Stainbrook gave an update on the state of security in the city in the wake of the Dec. 1 killing of long-time resident and philanthropist Jacqueline Avant. Stainbrook reported that police made an arrest of a suspect, Aariel Maynor, one day after the “horrific tragedy.” Additionally, BHPD “made five other significant arrests this week in relation to ongoing criminal cases.”

“I am very proud of our police officers and civilian staff who have been working tirelessly,” Stainbrook said. “For the time that I have been here, I have been impressed with the level of interdepartmental teamwork, our excellent access to technology and the amazing level of community support.”

Stainbrook told the Council that the department had tripled the number of armed private security. A BHPD detective will join the Los Angeles Police Department Follow Home Task Force to “ensure real time information sharing,” he said. The department has also deployed three camera trailers to “high visibility locations” and is in the process of buying a fourth trailer. Stainbrook also assured the Council that they would see “foot beat and bike patrol units within the business districts.”

While the city already has a thorough network of CCTV cameras, Stainbrook told the Council that the department was working with the Public Works Department “to increase and ensure proper camera coverage for the city.” Stainbrook also said that the department would purchase 20 new license plate readers with the goal of covering every entrance into the city.

The department hired five new police officers on Dec. 6 and has plans to onboard seven more officers in the next three months.

Beverly Hills residents called in to the meeting to express their anxiety, with the most passionate voices coming from the Trousdale Estates neighborhood where Avant lived and was killed.

“[The] Trousdale neighborhood is up in arms,” said Sharam Melamad, who spoke on behalf of the Trousdale Estates Neighborhood Association and requested that the Beverly Hills Police Department assign two full time police patrols to the neighborhood. “The challenge we have in Trousdale right now is that we feel our police [are] not as visible as they should be. And although we know they’re there, unfortunately, the criminals do not see it as a deterrent because they cannot see them.”

Melamad and other residents also raised concerns that Airbnbs, movie rentals, and house parties–things that draw in people from outside of the community–are “major contributing factors” to crime in the area. Outside visitors “could be easily casing houses, casing the streets,” Melamad said. Airbnbs and short-term rentals are illegal in Beverly Hills.

Melamed said that he was meeting with City Manager George Chavez soon to discuss the concerns around party houses.

Chief Mark Stainbrook updates the City Council on security measures in the city following a number of high-profile crimes.
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