LAPD Forms Special Task Force To Combat Foreign Gangs Burglarizing Homes
David Crane/MediaNews Group/Los Angeles Daily News via Getty Images

Burglars who have entered the United States through a visa waiver program have created so much havoc in Los Angeles that the LAPD has created a special task force to combat organized foreign gangs.

Many tourist burglars who’ve been arrested often entered the U.S. through a visa waiver program. Many were visiting from Chile and other South American countries.

“I can tell you that we have a significant increase in burglaries from organized groups that are outside this country, that are coming into this country and they are targeting high-end residents. We are addressing that specifically in a task-force fashion through multi-agencies,” LAPD Chief Dominic Choi said on March 12.

According to the LAPD, there have been over 900 residential burglaries across the city since January, some of which have been committed by the tourist burglars, who may be using new technology to circumvent home security systems.

On March 4, the Wilshire department of the LAPD acknowledged, “Wilshire area has been subjected to various residential burglaries, involving 3-4 suspects using Wi-Fi jammers as they enter victims’ residences. The Los Angeles Police Department is seeking your help to deter such burglaries.”


“Some sort of device by burglars that actually deaden, kill or stop WiFi from operating,” Police Commissioner William Briggs explained.

“The immediate fix for these home-alarm systems is to hardwire them, where you plug these systems directly into your ethernet in the wall and not use your WiFi internally,” Choi said.

Jammers and drones have been discovered in Beverly Hills and other nearby cities; last year, burglars were nabbed as they were staking out homes while they were wearing suits similar to military snipers.


Similar burglaries are occurring in Arizona. “These are Chilean burglary groups that are coming to the United States on a visa waiver program,” Scottsdale Police Chief Jeff Walther admitted.

As far back as June 2022, Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer started a vertical prosecution unit in June 2022 called H.E.I.S.T (Home Invasion. Eradication. Interdiction. Strike. Team.) to prosecute burglary cases.

“Defendants from Chile have posed a uniquely frustrating challenge because the Chilean government has refused to provide us with the criminal history of Chilean citizens utilizing the ESTA VISA Program to enter the United States,” the Orange County District Attorney’s office stated in May 2023. “ESTA –Electronic System for Travel Authorization – requires criminal histories be provided before residents can enter the United States for 90 days at a time – unlimited times. Without criminal histories, prosecutors have been largely handcuffed in trying to prove why these defendants pose a greater public safety risk beyond a single burglary charge.”

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