By CBSLA Staff

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – Armed robberies, stretching from Hollywood to Mid-Wilshire, West Los Angeles and the beaches, are part of an alarming trend the Los Angeles Police Department revealed Tuesday.

“West Bureau, we have nearly a 23% increase in the number of robberies in that command that involve a firearm,” Chief Michael Moore said in a Tuesday Police Commission briefing.

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Residents in the Melrose Corridor say they are desperate for help.

Dominic Deluca, who owns the popular skate shop Brooklyn Projects, watched a shootout live from his security cameras.

“People live here 30, 40 years and they’ve never seen anything like it,” Deluca said.

Peter Nichols, a board member on Melrose Action said the neighborhood has seen everything from brazen daytime robberies to shootouts and murder.

“It’s getting to the point where there’s an exodus of people moving from the area. That’s how bad it is,” Nichols said.

So bad, said Deluca, that his business has taken a major hit, by as much as 40% compared to 2019. He said that even local customers prefer he ship their items to them rather than walking the streets and becoming a target.

“I still keep everybody employed, but my business is down,” Deluca said.

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Chief Moore reported to the commission that a lot of the times, two or three suspects will swarm an individual, stealing items like loose jewelry and high-end watches in these street robberies.

“People are scared that one of us is going to be the next victim. I think that that seems to be the common chatter,” Nichols said.

The trend isn’t limited to the Melrose area. Community organizers in other neighborhoods say they’re also worried about violent crime.

A member of the Venice Neighborhood Council, Soledad Ursua, said that Venice is really the epicenter for crime and lawlessness and that no one is really safe.

According to LAPD, they’re stepping up patrols and educating business owners, but Deluca insists that there needs to be harsher penalties for offenders before anything changes.

“This is like a candy story,” Deluca said. “You can do what you want and not get in trouble.”

Melrose community members said they plan to address these issues in a virtual town hall with LAPD on Wednesday.

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