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Meet LAPD Topanga Station’s New Captain

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Captain Rudy Lopez knows the valley. 

He’s been on the force since 1990, and lives in the north valley. He has taken over as Captain of LAPD’s Topanga Station, and as a local has some definite ideas on the major issues facing his division.

Lopez has worked his way through the force, starting on patrol in Van Nuys. He has worked narcotics, bike detail, internal affairs, community policing, investigation – and even spent time in the mounted unit on horseback.

His broad range of police experience brought him to Topanga after most recently serving as Southwest Division’s Commanding Officer.

Valley News Group asked Lopez what the biggest issue was in the Topanga Division, and his response was surprising.

“What’s driving crime here is property crime. Not organized smash and grabs but everyday individuals using the MTA to come into the Topanga area and victimize the mall and surrounding stores,” he said. “That includes vehicle theft.”

Many of those arrested are not locals to Topanga Division, he said. They are taking the bus, or driving into the west valley.

Lopez said that he has also seen a spike in burglaries – again not organized or in a pattern but definitely on the rise.

“We are significantly low in violent crimes,” he reported. “These are historic numbers. We’re not seeing numbers go up with aggravated assault or homicide.”

The new license plate cameras being installed in CD3 are great tools, Lopez said. “There are many crimes where we don’t have evidence except license plates leaving the area. We’re able to identify suspects in all types of crimes with the license plates.”

His biggest suggestion to the local community? “It’s easy to complain but if you do nothing about it – you’re not doing anything to solve the problem,” he told the paper. He suggested residents and business owners join Neighborhood Watch, or join the Community Police Advisory Board at the Topanga Station to be informed about what’s going on. Report crime. 

“If you don’t report it it’s not on our radar and we can’t adjust our resources to cover it,” he explained. “The best tool to reduce or eliminate crime is to be part of the process. Talk to your neighbors. Know your senior lead officer. We’ve seen great SLO’s. We’ve also seen communities who just complain.”

“We’re down 1,300 officers. We can’t do the job we used to. We’re relying on partnerships with residents and businesses to reduce crime. My message – be part of the solution as a community member.”

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