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A cannabis dispensary in West Hollywood fell victim to a smash-and-grab burglary in the early hours of Tuesday morning.

The thieves reportedly used a crowbar to break through a window of the store located on the Sunset Strip.

The incident highlights a surge in burglaries and grand theft in the area, prompting residents and business owners to call for increased police presence.

This crime adds to a string of high-profile incidents that have left the community disheartened.

Authorities from the LA County Sheriff’s Department revealed that at least 12 masked individuals raided the dispensary, making off with numerous bags of marijuana products.

The owner of the targeted establishment expressed disappointment over such an incident occurring in the area known for its charm and vibrancy.

Interestingly, the burglary occurred shortly after the West Hollywood City Council voted in favor of adding four staff members to the City Sheriff’s Station, including two non-sworn community positions, a sergeant, and a deputy.

The decision to bolster the police force comes after concerns raised by community members regarding safety.

Some staff members, including those from a nearby restaurant that experienced an armed robbery last month, no longer feel comfortable coming to work.

Last year, the City Council had approved reducing the number of deputies and increasing the presence of unarmed security ambassadors.

The Block by Block Ambassador Program, with 85 personnel, has been patrolling the streets to handle nonviolent calls.

Mayor Pro Tem John Erickson claimed that the program has achieved success, with 60 calls to the Sheriff’s Department being addressed.

However, not all residents and business owners are convinced that defunding deputies is the right solution to tackle crime.

While some feel safer, many believe that the increased presence of non-deputy security personnel lacks the necessary training to effectively handle and de-escalate dangerous situations.

The Block by Block organization, responsible for the security and investment program, maintains that their personnel are trained to intervene in various situations, including mental health crises, and can act as additional eyes and ears for the deputies.

In light of these incidents and concerns, the West Hollywood city officials are considering adding another deputy to the streets.

The decision will be informed by the findings of a public safety report, expected to be released in December.

The community hopes that such measures will address the rising crime rate and restore a sense of security in the area.

This is John Fenoglio reporting for KTLA 5 News at 10, May 16, 2023.

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