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Police officers will keep a watchful eye on homes in evacuated fire areas

As officials warned residents to stay clear of neighborhoods impacted by the massive wildfires burning in Southern California, law enforcement leaders made clear to those displaced that officers would be on hand to keep an eye on the homes they have left behind.
Los Angeles leaders during a news conference on Thursday announced that around 300 law-enforcement personnel have been assigned to direct traffic and protect homes, both at the site of the Skirball fire and in the San Fernando Valley.
“While we have firefighters protecting your homes, we have LAPD personnel protecting your property,” Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said.
LAPD Chief Charlie Beck, during the news conference, said his officers – as well as those with the California Highway Patrol, school police and the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department – are “protecting the homes of those that have had to leave them.”
“If a police officer or firefighter asks you to leave your home, please do so,” the chief added.
Los Angeles Police Officer Drake Madison, a department spokesman, said the chief’s message was meant to make sure people know their belongings are secure. The officer noted that with the sheer number of emergency responders in the evacuated areas, they don’t expect many problems with potential looters.
Also assisting with security efforts are members of the California National Guard: By Thursday afternoon, more than 1,300 Guard members had been mobilized to help with firefighting efforts across Southern California.
Most of those were assigned to help with firefighting efforts, including aviation support, medical evacuation and communications, said Captain Will Martin, a California National Guard spokesman. But some are assisting with law enforcement, Martin said. Like the officers assigned to the burn areas, they will be assisting traffic control and keeping an eye out for possible looters.
“We want to make sure there aren’t random folks heading through,” Martin said.
During previous major fires, there have been sporadic reports of looted homes. In 2015, at least six people were arrested for looting or planning to loot homes during a deadly fire in Northern California or its aftermath.
Source: Oc Register

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