The good news is that Newport Beach is a safe city. The bad news is that means residents and visitors often are so casual about security that they make themselves perfect targets for thieves — which is why the police department has launched a new crime prevention campaign aimed at making residents more aware.
At a news conference and fashion show event held Wednesday morning, the Newport Beach Police Department unveiled The Stolen Collection campaign, which features male models posing as crooks with faux stolen accessories. The tagline of each ad says “secure your valuables or lose them.”
The campaign was developed in a partnership with police and the Long Beach-based ETA advertising agency. Chief Jay Johnson said the campaign has cost $21,000 so far, with continuing costs in the future, but that taxpayers did not foot the bill. Instead, he said, the funds came from asset forfeiture procedures.
At the Wednesday news conference at the Newport Beach Marriott Hotel & Spa near Fashion Island, the police chief said that 96 percent of all crimes in the city are property crimes that cost victims $10 to $12 million a year.
“Most of the crimes are preventable,” he said. In 93 percent of cases, he said, victims have left doors unlocked and valuable items in plain sight.
“How do we get the message to the community without giving the perception we have a major crime problem?” he said. Community message boards, neighborhood watch meetings, social media campaigns and other efforts haven’t worked, police said, and some residents have been victimized again and again, never remembering to lock the doors of their cars and homes.
Last summer, the department began working with the advertising agency to create a campaign that will be used on buses, social media, at movie theaters, on door hangers and more.
The Stolen Collection campaign features six models posing as criminals, dressed in black, carrying designer purses filled with iPhones, wearing designer sunglasses. The “stolen” accessories represent the types of items typically lost in local thefts, and they are portrayed in bright, vibrants colors in each advertising spot.
At the Wednesday event, seven models were featured in a runway show, with Newport Beach Police Lt. Jon Lewis introducing each one.
“Here we have Niko,” Lewis said. “He’s mastered the runway and running away with people’s stuff…Let’s give a shout out to the owner of that sporty white import for leaving it unlocked…”
The campaign will be ongoing, with future ads possibly focusing on preventing thefts at the beach for summertime, said Jennifer Manzella, a police department spokeswoman.
City Manager Dave Kiff as well as Newport Beach Mayor Keith Curry attended the news conference/fashion show event.
Curry said that crime has dropped each year for the past four years, but working to prevent property crimes in a creative way was important.
“We love our community here and our quality of life,” he said. “We always strive to be better.”
A Las Vegas man was arrested at 11:45 p.m. Tuesday on suspicion of DUI at East Coast Highway and Newport Center Drive, according to a police report.
At the same time and location, a 42-year-old Newport Beach man was arrested on suspicion of obstructing a police officer, a report said. That man’s bail was $500.
The Las Vegas man, 38, had bail set at $2,500.
A memorial for Earl Fusselman, a longtime volunteer with the Newport Beach Police Department, will be held at 10 a.m. Friday Dec. 13, a police spokeswoman said.
The memorial will be held at Pacific View Memorial Park at 3500 Pacific View Drive in Corona del Mar. A reception will follow at the American Legion at 215 E. 15th Street in Newport Beach.
Fusselman, 96, died over the weekend; read our earlier story here. He was among the first volunteers when the department launched its volunteer program in 1998, and he logged more than 4,500 volunteer hours, working up until three weeks before his death.
Fusselman was a member of the Newport-Irvine Rotary Club and requested that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to Rotary International.
Newport Beach police took a report of a vehicle burglary at 900 Newport Center Drive at 12:49 p.m. Sunday, according to a report. The incident, with a $700 loss, occurred between 9:30 p.m. Friday and 9:30 a.m. Saturday, the report said.
Officers also arrested a 41-year-old Newport Beach man at 1550 Avocado Ave. at 5:15 p.m. Monday on suspicion of disorderly conduct while intoxicated. His bail was $500.
The Newport Beach Bicycle Master Plan Oversight Committee met Monday afternoon at the Civic Center, discussing a recent bicycle fatality as well as plans to improve roadway safety.
Brad Sommers, a Newport Beach senior civil engineer, said plans were in the works to add bike lanes on Avocado Avenue as well as to add sharrows on Bayside Drive from El Paseo to Marguerite. In October 2010, the city added its first sharrows to Bayside Drive between El Paseo and Carnation Avenue; read our story here. Last year, the painted symbols were added along East Coast Highway in Corona del Mar.
The improvements will be added as part of other roadway improvement projects that will be scheduled in upcoming months, Sommers said.
A few cyclists at the meeting complained about traffic signals in the city, which they said don’t always sense cyclists and therefore don’t trigger light changes, and often have too short of a cycle to allow a rider to make it safely through an intersection.
Bob Eng said he was cycling in a group right behind Paul Lin, 41, of Irvine, when Lin was struck by a vehicle on Nov. 6 at San Joaquin Hills Road at Marguerite Avenue. Lin died at the scene; read our story here.
Lin was trying to complete a turn from Marguerite onto San Joaquin Hills, but the light cycle was only six seconds, Eng said. Stacy Kline of Newport Beach also spoke, adding that there are other intersections in the city with light cycles that are too short for a cyclist to complete.
Sommers said he has been researching new technology that uses radar or video cameras to help protect cyclists at intersections, and that upgrading equipment will occur “not overnight” but as part of ongoing traffic signal rehabilitation projects. He urged cyclists who notice a bad intersection to contact him so a more immediate fix can be added.
Eng also said the city should create a database of “near misses” that cyclists could use to enter information about crashes that nearly occurred, which would let authorities see where dangerous areas are without relying solely on accident reports. He also urged police to conduct more distracted driver awareness campaigns.
Newport Beach Police Lt. Jeff Lu provided traffic collision information through November 2013. So far, he said, there have been 107 bicycle accidents, up from 103 a year ago. Those accidents resulted in 109 injuries, up one from last year. In all, 51 percent of the crashes did not involve motor vehicles, he said.
Lu declined to discuss specifics of the Lin crash investigation because the investigation is ongoing. He said that the driver remained at the scene, and he confirmed that Lin died at the scene after being hit while trying to make a left turn.
“It’s a very, very tragic scene all the way around,” he said.
The meeting also included an update on the city’s developing Bicycle Master Plan. Also, a Caltrans official attended the meeting and said that Caltrans was working with Newport Beach staff to improve striping and markings for bicycles at six locations along East Coast Highway. The improvements could include signs with bicycle symbols, Share the Road signs and possibly sharrows.
Three Corona del Mar High School students’ ocean photography will be exhibited beginning tonight at the Beach Hut Deli in Costa Mesa.
Kellen Givens, Jacob Reines and George Wells will attend the Columbia Photography’s Metallic Surf Exhibit opening from 6 to 8 p.m. tonight at the deli at 488 East 17th Street, suite A-100, according to an event flier.
The three photographers will attend and tell stories with friends and followers, and pieces will be available for sale, the flier says.
Kellen, Jacob and George are all 15-year-old CdMHS sophomores who enjoy surfing and hanging out at the beach.
According to their website, the boys bought their first GoPro camera gear a few years ago at Jack’s Surfboards in Corona del Mar Plaza. The employee who helped them was from Colombia, and when they decided their photographs were good enough to use to start a business, they named the business Columbia Photography in her honor.
About a year ago, they launched their website and began selling photographs online. This will be their first public exhibition.
“I hope you can come down and enjoy good food and great photos,” Jacob said.
“It’s not so much about the photography itself,” George added. “It’s about the stories that come along with them.”
Former Newport Beach City Manager Robert L. Wynn died Saturday, city officials have confirmed.
He died after a short illness caused by a fall several days ago, City Manager Dave Kiff said in an email. The Orange County Register has reported that he was 82 and died Saturday at Hoag Hospital.
Wynn’s career in public administration spanned 35 years and included 20 years in Newport Beach. He began working in Newport Beach in August 1971 and retired in December 1991, city spokeswoman Tara Finnigan said.
“Bob was an institution here as the City Manager,” Kiff said. “He remained in town after retirement, and stayed busy and involved but never peered over his successors’ shoulders. Newport has been fortunate to have several city managers retire or leave office but stay in town, from Bob Shelton to Bob Wynn to Kevin Murphy to Homer Bludau. Sadly, both Kevin Murphy and Bob Wynn are now gone. I consider myself very fortunate to be able to follow in their footsteps.”
Services have been scheduled for 1 p.m. Saturday at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints at 2300 Bonita Canyon Drive, Kiff said.
A Thanksgiving Day burglary on Tiller Way resulted in a loss of $157,285 worth of jewelry, according to police.
The burglary occurred in the 1000 block of Tiller Way between 10:30 a.m. and 7:30 p.m. Thursday, a report said. It was reported at 8:21 p.m. Thursday.
The suspect or suspects apparently entered the home through an unlocked garage side door, then stole “a large amount of jewelry,” police spokeswoman Jennifer Manzella said in an email
Police also took a report of vandalism with $3,000 in damage at 555 Newport Center Drive on Nov. 26. The vandalism occurred between 2 and 3 p.m. Nov. 24 when a suspect or suspects removed a piece of the soft convertible roof material from the victim’s vehicle and used some kind of tool to scratch the paint on the driver’s side of the vehicle, Manzella said. The vandalism was reported at 5 p.m. Nov. 26.
In other police news, officers took a report of a a petty theft at 401 Newport Center Drive at 4:41 p.m. Friday. The theft, with a $450 loss, occurred between Wednesday and 4:10 p.m. Friday, a report said. Officers took another petty theft report at 701 Newport Center Drive at 1:30 p.m. Friday. The theft, with a loss of $242.49, occurred between 1:15 and 1:25 p.m. Friday. Police also took a vehicle burglary report at 690 Newport Center Drive at 1:06 p.m. Saturday. The burglary, with a loss of $1,000, occurred between 9:30 p.m. Thursday and 1:15 p.m. Saturday.
Police arrested a 34-year-old Cerritos man at 11:27 p.m. Sunday at MacArthur Boulevard and Harbor View Drive on suspicion of DUI; his bail was $2,500. Police arrested a 51-year-old Dana Point woman at Crystal Cove State Park at 2:40 p.m. Sunday on suspicion of disorderly conduct while intoxicated; bail was $500.
Police also arrested a 44-year-old Irvine woman at 701 Newport Center Drive at 2:45 p.m. Sunday on suspicion of burglary; her bail was $20,000, according to a report.
Earl Fusselman, a Newport Beach Police Department volunteer since 1998, died over the weekend. He was 96 years old and lived in Corona del Mar.
“Earl had (v)olunteered with us for almost 15 years, and was still going out on his weekly Vacation Check patrols right up until three weeks ago,” according to the Newport Beach Police Department’s Facebook page. “Earl passed away peacefully, while under medical care. Earl was an incredible man and an integral part of our NBPD family. He will be sorely missed.”
Police Chief Jay Johnson said in a written statement that Fusselman led “an incredible life, and gave freely of his wisdom and perspective.”
“We could always look forward to his smile, his friendly greeting, and his gentle heart,” Johnson said. He was infinitely kind and incredibly sharp, with a remarkable memory and sense of humor. He not only took the time to learn your name, but then he would call you by name every time you met him, without fail. He was a humble man who, at twice my age and experience, always referred to me as ‘Sir’ or ‘Chief’ out of respect. He will be missed, but not forgotten.”
Fusselman was the third volunteer to sign up when the department founded its program, and he logged more than 4,500 hours in the community. In 2011 and 2012, police staff organized surprise birthday parties to celebrate his Sept. 3 birthday; read about those parties here and here. This year, the party was a small private gathering at Rose Bakery Cafe, a favorite hangout.
He was born in Garret, Kan. in 1917, according to an article written in 2011 by another police volunteer, Richard V. Simon. According to the article, Fusselman’s family moved to Iowa when he was an infant, and he grew up working on a family farm until he was 21. He graduated high school at 16 and later attended Stickler Business College. After earning a degree, he worked as a field auditor in the Kansas oil industry and was going to South America to work for Standard Oil when the company suggested he enlist in the Army
“Two weeks before his enlistment was to expire, Japan attacked Pearl Harbor,” Simon’s article said.
“There went my freedom,” Fusselman reportedly said.
Fusselman attended Officers’ Candidate School and after three months was a second lieutenant, then moved to Texas and was promoted to first lieutenant, the article said. He transferred to the Army Air Force, then returned to the Army and became a captain. While training in Arizona, a desert rodent bit him, and he was hospitalized for six months and medically discharged from the military.
Fusselman frequently told about his recuperation in Palm Springs in 1942, when he was out with friends at dinner and a beautiful girl walked by and fainted in his lap after spotting a mouse. Two months later, they married. Genevieve Fusselman died in 1988.
The couple operated a dry cleaning business in Bell for 25 years, Simon wrote, then moved to Newport Beach in 1964. Fusselman operated a real estate brokerage, selling more than $100 million in properties, before he retired in 1988, Simon wrote. He moved into assisted living in Corona del Mar in 2010. He had two sisters and a brother, two children, four grandchildren and nine great grandchildren.
Fusselman also had been a Rotary Club member since 1944 and was a member of the American Legion for more than 20 years.
Information about funeral arrangements were not immediately available.
“He was an amazing man,” said department spokeswoman Jennifer Manzella in an email. “He was truly a part of our NBPD family, and it won’t be the same around here without him.”
Former police spokeswoman Kathy Lowe said Fusselman “epitomized the true meaning of a volunteer.
“It was my privilege to work with him and an honor to count him among my friends,” she said.
Corona del Mar Today file photo from 2012.