DOWNTOWN LOS ANGELES (KABC) --Amid a spike in crime in downtown Los Angeles, two recent robberies in the area were captured on harrowing surveillance video.
One video shows a man using a cane as he approaches an entrance to his apartment building. Two people in hoodies walk past him on the sidewalk, and one of the passerby taps the man's pocket - a maneuver known as a "pocket check."
Minutes later, the same hooded suspect attacks the man, dragging him along the sidewalk. As the victim is knocked unconscious, the suspect's accomplice searches his clothes.
"Somebody will come behind you, bump into you a little bit, kind of distract you," said Capt. Scott Harrelson of the Los Angeles Police Department's Central Division. "But at the same time, they're checking your pocket."
The captain said such street crimes are on the rise in downtown.
"A couple of guys will come up to you and use their sheer presence to intimidate you and take that phone," Harrelson said. "They also do the same thing for purses - a snatch-and-grab type of thing."
Police say thieves choose easy targets, including people walking down the street absorbed in their phones, not paying attention to their surroundings.
In another downtown incident recorded by a surveillance camera, two co-workers said goodbye to each when a hooded suspect aggressively chased one of them.
Just outside of the camera's frame, he swiped the purse out of the female victim's hand and fled.
Police say the uptick in crime may be the result of the number of people living in, working in and visiting downtown.
"More people, more potential victims," Harrelson said, "and there's going to be more people out there looking to take advantage of them."
Vehicles are also vulnerable.
"'Lock it, hide it, keep it' is alive and well," the captain said. "We need people to hide their property. Put it in the trunk. Put it under the seat. Get it out of plain view."