Santa Monica Observer - Community, Diversity, Sustainability and other Overused Words

By Amy Fittipaldi
Local Resident 

Criminals Force Us to Reconsider Santa Monica's Hedge and Fence Statutes

90402 has been called an aspirational zip code. It is, unfortunately, also a target for criminals.


Security Cam Photo

Men who broke into the house behind ours on 19th street in broad day light. No masks or gloves.

In June 2017 a house on the 200 block of our street (19th) the father and son were brutally stabbed by 2 men. The house where the father and son lived had 'a Santa Monica regulation height fence."

The men had machetes and stabbed the father and son over 20 times. They jumped right over their front yard fence.

Our fence is 6 feet high to protect us for just that reason. But now the City of Santa Monica wants us to lower both our hedges and fence from 6 feet to a regulation 2 feet tall.

This regulation, enacted at the behest of Bobby Shriver 10 years ago, is dated. It's common knowledge that Santa Monica, and other towns, are experiencing a crime wave for a number of reasons.

The crimes for us started in 2011 our garage was robbed. On May 5, 2014 our entire house was robbed. In April of 2017 headlights were stolen from a vehicle in our driveway. In May of 2017 another car was stolen from our driveway. I have police reports for every crime. No one was ever caught. We felt hopeless and victimized. Then in June the father and son were brutally stabbed 2 blocks from my house.

That is when I contacted a highly reputable security company called Tier One. The company was started by two distinguished special forces men, one of whom is a retired Army ranger and green beret, his partner is a retired navy seal who was part of Seal Team 6. These men were brought to LA by Steve Balmer to Head the security of his basketball team when he bought the Los Angeles Lakers.

They came that night with a security camera and light company and a gate company they use for their clients. They explained to me the number of crimes in Santa Monica and the Palisades has sky rocketed. I immediately had them start construction on the gate. We designed it to match the integrity of our house along with safety functions which were beepers so when the gate opened and closed people could hear.

On December 31st at roughly 3:30am we had 6-8 hooded and masked men pull up right in front of our house in 2 cars and climb the side walls of our house and tried to break in and steal yet again ANOTHER one of our cars. Because we had the fence the men were NOT able to. (See pictures)

Sadly 5 other homes on our block were not so lucky that early morning. The same men were apparently able to enter another house just a few houses away from ours on the 500-600 block of our street, while the family was sleeping the burglars stole their car and their homes electronics.

Our 3 young children were horrified of yet another home invasion. Some relatives won't stay with us because of the multiple break-in's and robberies.

On February 9th, 2018 the house behind ours on 18th Street, was broken into and robbed in broad day light. The men were not wearing masks or gloves. They were never caught. (See pictures).

We strongly hope Santa Monica will change its views on its residents protecting themselves and its residents safety in general

Security Cam Photo

One of the Men who tried to break into our house

90402 has been called an aspirational zip code. It is, unfortunately, also a target for criminals.

There are many homes with hedges and fences much higher then ours (see attached) every house in Santa Monica is unique. The new 'character' of our neighborhood should be SAFETY. I wish people on NOMA would be less concerned with voicing their opinion on how they feel something should look and worry MORE about not only North of Montana residents but ALL of Santa Monica's residents safety.

If you are in favor of the city of Santa Monica changing its rules about their residents protecting themselves on their properties please come to the Council meeting on May 2nd at 7pm at City Hall on Main Street.

-Amy Fittipaldi

90402 Resident


Reader Comments(3)

Fencexczar writes:

Really sorry to see this injury report. Even so, it's an anomaly. Further, when most yards on a given block feature overheight frontages - particularly with locked gates, attack risk increases at the few remaining dwellings with low fences or hedges. Those who flout fence height laws bear a measure of responsibility for break-ins at more accessible homes. _Eyes on the street_ is the safety mantra of Neighborhood Watch and PDs everywhere. High fences or hedges prevent this safety transparency, which works both ways - police want to see yards, and they can't see through high fences and hedges. Criminals prefer that - they don't want to be seen rifling door locks and opening windows. Have you compared crime costs on blocks with low or no fences with those on blocks with high fences? Understanding that security agents need to make livings, multiple practical methods exist to enhance home protection without having to sequester one's home from the community. Ask your local police for tips.

BornInSM writes:

I never leave my home at night in Santa Monica because I don't feel safe. Even during the day I feel I must dress in jeans and tennis shoes so that I can run when necessary. I'm also surrounded at night by my neighbors' overly bright security lights. This means I need four layers of curtains just to make my studio apartment dark enough to sleep. I drive a 25 year old car to keep it from being stolen and never carry a purse. A homeless man was complaining a couple of weeks ago that he's afraid to try to sleep at night because he might be stabbed or set on fire.

Anonymous writes:

The article suggests code compliance is making the author reduce a 72” gate to 24” height, which is not as per the current fence height code. The SM front fence/hedge height limit is 42” + 12” of lattice or similar for a total of 54”.


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