MNHATTAN BEACH (CBSLA.com)   —  A town hall meeting in Manhattan Beach on Wednesday addressed crime and crime prevention with many residents asking about a rash of break-ins in the community.

Manhattan Beach Police Chief Eve Irvine was there to answer questions that several hundred residents had. She told them how to fight back and make their homes more safe.

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KCAL9’s Juan Fernandez attended the meeting held at the Joslyn Community Center.

“You have to close your doors and windows when you leave your home,” she urged.

Irvine mentioned the recent spike in crime was also affecting El Segundo and Hermosa Beach.

The police chief blamed early prisoner release and Proposition 47, a measure that turned several felonies into misdemeanors, as a root cause.

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“It makes it very, very hard to determine one specific reason why [break-ins are up,]” Irvine said, “but it’s a recipe for disaster and we have to address it in many different ways.”

The chief also offered other common-sense approaches, including keeping valuables out of sight.

“Perhaps maybe we could be more effective if we all worked together as a region; I hope that’s the case,” Manhattan Beach resident Nancy Howell said.

Fire officials also addressed a recent arson purportedly aimed at a black family and said they were following up on several leads. They said they still don’t have a motive.

“The community is very concerned about what happens here; it’s what makes this community what is is,” said resident Ron Howell. “Personally, I think, speaking for my wife and I, we have confidence that the police department and the fire department will solve this and solve it pretty quickly.”

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Irvine said the best advice she could give residents is that if they see something suspicious, don’t be afraid to call police.