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Downtown Long Beach business owners upset over police response time to burglaries

Ten days after seven businesses were hit by vandals, three more business in Long Beach’s East Village district were struck this weekend.

In at least one incident, Long Beach police took nearly four hours to respond.

“During the time of this call for service, there were multiple arson incidents in the North Division area, a hit shooting… and a battery in the Downtown Entertainment District area,” wrote Hannah Ortiz, Long Beach Public Information Officer. “Officers responded when able, which was 3 hours and 51 minutes after the initial dispatch.”

“I didn’t see police here, I was like ‘oh no!’” said  Kimberly Latham, a shop owner who rushed to her friends shop when she was called by security. “Your stomach sinks, you just feel helpless.”

Latham arrived at 4:41 a.m. Sunday after security monitors reported the break-in at “Make Collectives” to police. She was watching the shop, which is next door to her shop, while the owner was out of the country.

“I got my things together, hopped in the car and made it down here around 4:41 to find that I beat police. Police had not made it here yet,” said Latham.

Fellow business owners helped her secure the store and clean up the mess.

It was the last business of three hit over the weekend by vandals and thieves. 

Surveillance video caught the door window being smashed at Wabi Sabi market at 146 Linden Ave. Long Beach police said “officers were on scene within two minutes of that burglary call.”

As the Culture Shrooms shop was also burglarized, crews worked Monday to repair broken windows. Long Beach police said they “were unable to locate any calls for service at 408 E 1st St. within the last week.”

Police did deploy a mobile surveillance camera stand off Linden and Broadway to help monitor the area. 

Shop owners said they are planning at meeting with officers Thursday and ask for more of a physical presence in the neighborhood to deter crime.

“We are just saying, ‘Please stop the bleeding!’ Our small business community is just like dying because we are getting hit from all levels,” said Latham. “We want a thriving business community and a thriving neighborhood where people feel safe to walk down it and people feel safe doing business.”

We reached out to Long Beach city councilmember Mary Zendejas’ office for comment and have not received a comment about the vandalism in her district. 

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Source: NBC Los Angeles

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