GLENDALEDue to an increase of extortion cases in and around Glendale–the Police Department announced Friday that it has established a hotline for would-be victims to alert law enforcement agencies in an event of possible extortion.
Glendale Police Department Public Information officer Chahe Keuroghelian told a press conference for the Armenian media that the police department felt the need to establish such a service to prevent crimes from happening–explaining that the department would be announcing this project to all ethnic and minority groups during separate press and community conferences.
"We need to hear about these incidents," commented Keuroghelian–who emphasized the police department’s need to know about extortion incidents–which he explained were moving from North Hollywood to Glendale–and have even expanded as far away as Fresno.
The hotline at (818) 548-2119 is equipped to handle calls regarding extortion and provide the necessary guidance to the caller. Keuroghelian ensured that information provided to the hotline would be kept confidential.
A fatal incident at the Mirage clothing store in Glendale late last year–where two people were fatally shot as a result of an alleged extortion deal gone awry–has made the problem more apparent and urgent in the community.
Police hope that by establishing the hotline–the department will drastically reduce the growing number of cases in Glendale.
Keuroghelian expressed that since its inception–the hotline had received only one call. However– the department hopes that calls will increase once the community becomes aware of the service.
Keuroghelian explained that hesitance from business owners to utilize the hotline could be attributed to that person’s own illegal activities in business–however–he urged all to report extortion incidents to the police for proper action.
While Keuroghelian said that the extortion cases could not be categorized as "organized crime," they were conducted in an organized manner–whereby the extortionist goes to great lengths to ensure a business’ "patronage" in his "service" of offering "protection" for payment.
Keuroghelian said that the number of Armenia’s involved in criminal activities in Glendale has sharply increased–while the number of Armenia’s in the police force has not.
"Most of our prisoners of Armenian origin are from the Former Soviet Union," explained Keuroghelian–adding that there were only four officers of Armenian origin working on the Glendale police force.
Keuroghelian also offered his own office number as part of the hotline since the service is not being manned by Armenian speakers. He can be reached at (818) 548-4818.
The public is urged to utilize this hotline and assist the police department in preventing this crime.