LOS ANGELES (NewsNation) — Armed robberies in Los Angeles are up 44% this year compared to the same period last year, according to authorities. The rise in crime has sparked a demand for in-home safe rooms among Hollywood’s elite.
In December, during a home invasion, the wife of Grammy-winning producer Clarence Avant was killed. The 29-year-old suspect was caught with an AR-15.
LAPD Chief Michel Moore is aware of the problem. He says overall robberies are up 18% in the greater Los Angeles area.
“We want to identify who is out here, preying on people, committing street robberies and other crimes and we want to arrest them and bring them in front of the justice system,” Moore said.
“When we see an increase in robberies,” he added. “We see an increase in the number of people carrying firearms.”
Residents in Beverly Hills have decided they don’t want to wait for a police response so they are investing in their own fortified security.
Bill Rigdon, president of Panic Room Builders, has been constructing secured rooms for the ultra-rich for more than two decades.
“We’re not talking just like carjackings. We are talking about home invasions, murders, shootings. It’s out of control,” Rigdon said. “People are just more crazy now than they’ve ever been.”
Rigdon says his business’ exposure increased after consulting with Sony Pictures on the 2002 movie “Panic Room” but not in the way that the recent crime wave has.
He told NewsNation that armored doors, Kevlar composition for walls and electronic surveillance inside these safe rooms are enough to stop multiple rounds of a handgun.
A typical panic room will cost between $50,000 to $100,000. But Rigdon says there’s no price tag on your life.
“It gives you that much time to protect yourself, your belongings, your family before the sheriff or police shows up,” he said.
Industry leaders say demand isn’t just up here in Los Angeles. Miami, Atlanta and Las Vegas are also seeing an increase for panic rooms.