WEST LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- The Los Angeles Police Department is cracking down on a rash of burglaries that have been committed in the past year in West L.A.
Investigators say they've recovered stolen items but they're asking residents to do their part to scare off potential thieves - and that involves installing home security cameras.
More than 300 break-ins occurred in the area in 2023, according to police. In an effort to reduce that number, authorities would like to see more residential surveillance cameras.
"If you're going to get cameras, please look into -- if you can afford it -- hiring professionals to install them," LAPD Detective Robert Hoebink said in an interview with ABC7.
The LAPD said the agency has arrested 12 suspects that investigators believe are part of a South American burglary crew.
Just before Christmas, police arrested more of the suspected West L.A. thieves. After a vehicle was followed, five people jumped out and fled on foot in North Hollywood.
Police set up a perimeter and arrested three of the suspects; two others remained at large.
The one thing these suspects have in common, according to police, is the use of dark backpacks. Officials hope residents can add surveillance cameras that record in color -- not black and white -- outside their homes.
"When we recover these backpacks, we're able to see the color of them, the design of them, and we're matching those up to videos," Hoebink said. "In many of the videos it might look like a light-colored backpack, but it in fact is a dark color. And so, it makes it difficult to go before a court and say, 'We believe this backpack is this one here."
During a virtual town hall meeting on Wednesday night, the LAPD released photos of stolen goods -- luxury purses, watches, sunglasses, jewelry -- that have been recovered as part of the investigations.
"We've always suggested bolting down safes and alarms," Hoebink said. "But one thing that always comes up is: A lot of people suggest maybe not to keep the valuables in the home."