San Fernando Valley communities hit hard by skyrocketing car thefts

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By Yosi Yahoudai
Founder and Managing Partner

San Fernando Valley residents say they are frustrated with the skyrocketing number of motor vehicle thefts plaguing many Valley communities.  

Auto thefts are also up citywide, according to data presented to the Los Angeles Board of Police Commissioners by Interim L.A. Police Chief Dominic Choi on Tuesday.  

However, within LAPD’s Valley Bureau, which includes seven police stations, car thefts are up by nearly 30% compared to last year, with an overall increase of 29.3% or 608 more vehicle thefts this year compared to last.  

“I feel frustrated,” Panorama City resident Jesus Barrera told KTLA’s Kimberly Cheng. “We already deal with so much as a community.”  

Barrera added that his sister’s Ford Explorer, which had been parked on the street, was stolen a few months ago. 

“Came home from work, parked it and then the next morning we went over to drop her off at her car and it was gone,” he said. “It took a lot of self-investigation. We had to go around the neighborhood and, thankfully, we found it, but a couple of months afterward.”  

Unfortunately, Barrera said the SUV had basically been stripped.  

In data analyzed by Crosstown L.A., some 2,371 vehicles were stolen in LAPD’s Valley Bureau between Jan. 1 and April 29. One of the hardest hit communities was North Hollywood, which saw a 39% increase or 134 more stolen vehicles than in 2023.  

Communities in LAPD’s Foothill Division, which include Lake View Terrace, Sun Valley, Arleta and Shadow Hills also saw an increase in auto thefts.  

“The Foothill Division has the largest percentage increase in the city at 51.6% or plus 131 motor vehicle thefts,” said LAPD Interim Chief Choi to the police commission. “Again, the top stolen vehicles continue to be Kias, Chevrolets and Hyundais.”  

Panorama resident Monique Ocegueda, who owns a Kia, has added additional security cameras around her driveway.  

“Me and close friends and my boyfriend, we have Kias,” she said. “So, the only thing we can do is just add cameras and have really good insurance. It just sucks that people can have the opportunity to take something that you’re paying for.”  

Experts said that some Kias and Hyundais may be easier to steal because of anti-theft software flaws, which is why LAPD is holding a free event for Hyundai owners at Eagle Rock Plaza, located at 2828 Colorado Boulevard, from Friday, May 17 through Sunday, May 19 between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. where drivers can update their vehicle’s software.  

The anti-theft protection software update takes about 30 minutes.  

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About the Author
Yosi Yahoudai is a founder and the managing partner of J&Y. His practice is comprised primarily of cases involving automobile and motorcycle accidents, but he also represents people in premises liability lawsuits, including suits alleging dangerous conditions of public property, third-party criminal conduct, and intentional torts. He also has expertise in cases involving product defects, dog bites, elder abuse, and sexual assault. He earned his Bachelor of Arts from the University of California and is admitted to practice in all California State Courts, and the United States District Court for the Southern District of California. If you have any questions about this article, you can contact Yosi by clicking here.