GLENDALE, Calif. (KABC) --In response to a recent spike in residential burglaries, Glendale police posted a digital roadside sign in the Chevy Chase Canyon neighborhood with these words of warning: "Burglar arrested in area faces life in prison."
The unusual idea was inspired by the arrest of a criminal who police say broke into a home on Feb. 4 while a mother and her two young children were inside.
If convicted, the suspect could be sentenced to life in state prison, the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office said.
"He was a two-striker, and in this particular incident we had a victim present. That makes it a violent crime, which he could potentially look at a third strike," Glendale police Sgt. Robert William said.
Chevy Chase Canyon resident David Evans says he and his neighbors are very concerned about the rise in burglaries, but he's not convinced a sign will deter criminals.
"I doubt if a prospective burglar driving up a hill is going to stop at a neon-flashing sign and wonder, 'What's going on?'" Evans said. "Deterrence actually requires presence... You've got to have a visible presence in the neighborhood to make a difference."
The sign was kept up for about a week. Glendale police say it's just one of several steps they're taking to combat the burglary problem.
"To deter the criminals from targeting that area but also to bring some awareness to our neighbors, to let the people that live in that area know, 'Hey, we're paying attention,'" William said.
It's unknown if the sign deterred criminals but Glendale police say they plan to utilize it again in the near future.