BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. (KABC) -- The new chief of the Beverly Hills Police Department was sworn in less than two weeks ago, but he's already meeting face to face with residents concerned about the recent spike in violent crime in the area and vows to make it a top priority.
Chief Mark Stainbrook held a town hall meeting on Sunday where he addressed the rise in crime, including the alarming trend of smash-and-grab robberies.
"We're being impacted by something that's going on regionally, that's going on statewide, that some places, is going on nationally, and that's the increase in violent crime," said Stainbrook.
Within days after being sworn in, Stainbrook's department investigated the death of well-known Beverly Hills resident Jacqueline Avant, the wife of a famed music executive.
A parolee with an extensive criminal record was arrested in her death.
READ MORE | Suspect arrested in fatal shooting of Jacqueline Avant during Beverly Hills home invasion: Police
The increase in robberies in Beverly Hills has left many residents, some of whom spoke out during Sunday's meeting, stunned and concerned for their safety.
"My home's been burglarized and heirlooms have been taken," said one resident. "My car's been broken into twice in my driveway."
Last month, robbers attempted to break into the Louis Vuitton and Saks Fifth Avenue stores, leaving store owners and police on high alert along Rodeo Drive.
"We need to feel a sense of turning the tide against crime and feeling safe in our community and in our home," said Beverly Hills resident Eric Cohen.
The police department has nearly tripled its number of private security guards patrolling businesses and residential districts. Five new officers were recently sworn in to help with the load.
"We're working on using new technology," explained Stainbrook. "We just used flew our first drone mission [Saturday night] we have cameras - we have automated license plates readers - we always use technology to enhance what our officers and security staff on the ground do."
Meanwhile, Los Angeles Police Department Chief Michel Moore said he's working to "more aggressively" go after criminals and seek "full prosecution" as the city sees an alarming spike in violent crimes.
"Right now, I believe that the efforts of the last year and a half or so created at least a perception of a more permissive environment," said Moore. "For people that have the ability to go out and engage in this type of conduct we are talking about here with no consequence."
He pointed the finger at zero-bail policies, saying they make catching criminals more difficult. In some instances, suspects are quickly released from custody after they're arrested and booked for the crimes. The current zero-bail policy was designed to reduce jail populations during the pandemic.
"Two years ago, a person arrested would be in custody and set to be arraigned in 72 hours," said Moore. "Today, that process is, with the zero-bail, that person is in and out back in the community and their next court appearance is an arraignment that's four or five months out."
At a recent news conference, both Mayor Eric Garcetti and Moore said L.A. County District Attorney George Gascon's policies are not to blame here. Judges, they say, need to stop cutting repeat offenders loose.
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