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Los Angeles Entrepreneur Suggests Residents Arm, Educate Themselves Amid Rising Crime

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Los Angeles Entrepreneur Suggests Residents Arm, Educate Themselves Amid Rising Crime

A man fires a pistol during a defensive pistol class at Burro Canyon Shooting Park in Azusa, on Feb. 12, 2023. (Frederic J. Brown/AFP via Getty Images)

Siyamak Khorrami

Siyamak Khorrami

1/14/2024

Updated: 1/16/2024

A Los Angeles entrepreneur whose home and car were broken into multiple times in the past few years says that because current elected officials are failing at keeping people safe, residents should consider becoming armed and educated—which might help to turn around the city’s crime problem.
Vince Ricci is the founder and CEO of Hubble Studio, a production space and event venue that has hosted photography sessions with Vogue and GQ magazines, along with high-profile events with performers such as Chance the Rapper.
He made his comments on a recent episode of EpochTV’s “California Insider,” soon after the latest home-invasion attempt at his Larchmont Village home in November 2023, during which he fended off two masked robbers with a gun that he was permitted to carry.
Vince Ricci, founder and CEO of Hubble Studio, on a recent episode of EpochTV’s “California Insider.” (Taras Dubenets/The Epoch Times)

Vince Ricci, founder and CEO of Hubble Studio, on a recent episode of EpochTV’s “California Insider.” (Taras Dubenets/The Epoch Times)

According to Mr. Ricci, he was in the entryway of his home on an early Saturday night after a long day of work when the incident occurred.
Inside were his wife, 5-month-old baby, and two other adults. As he approached the door—a to-go drink in hand—the robbers ran up to him with guns pulled.
“My first reaction was, I can’t believe this is happening,” Mr. Ricci said. “I knew I was in immediate danger. I feared for my life. I thought I was going to get killed.”
He said he quickly realized that he would have to react to defend his home and those inside.
Mr. Ricci said he dropped his drink, pulled out his gun from the waistband of his pants, and fired at the thieves, who then fled.
“I decided to fire at them to protect my home and to protect my family,” he said.
Mr. Ricci said he hopes the surprise of his response will make would-be thieves think twice next time.
“If people are protecting themselves, when that criminal is making a decision [to commit a crime], they have to hold into account that there may be men like me out there,” he said.
Security camera footage of an attempted robbery of Vince Ricci at his home in Los Angeles on Nov. 4, 2023. (Courtesy of Vince Ricci)

Security camera footage of an attempted robbery of Vince Ricci at his home in Los Angeles on Nov. 4, 2023. (Courtesy of Vince Ricci)

Security camera footage of an attempted robbery of Vince Ricci at his home in Los Angeles on Nov. 4, 2023. (Courtesy of Vince Ricci)

Security camera footage of an attempted robbery of Vince Ricci at his home in Los Angeles on Nov. 4, 2023. (Courtesy of Vince Ricci)

Security camera footage of an attempted robbery of Vince Ricci at his home in Los Angeles on Nov. 4, 2023. (Courtesy of Vince Ricci)

Security camera footage of an attempted robbery of Vince Ricci at his home in Los Angeles on Nov. 4, 2023. (Courtesy of Vince Ricci)

Mr. Ricci said many of his friends have told him about similar crimes that have happened to them, including in affluent Los Angeles neighborhoods such as Studio City and Beverly Hills. Larchmont Village, where he lives, is adjacent to the affluent Los Angeles area of Hancock Park and Windsor Square, where the mayor’s house is located.
“It’s not isolated issues in disenfranchised areas or in impoverished areas,” he said.
Mr. Ricci also said that when video of his November attempted home invasion went viral—in part because the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department suspended his concealed carry permit after the incident—even strangers reached out to him with similar stories of being robbed in Los Angeles.
He said his neighbors were also supportive and had their own stories to tell.
“They all came and told me how they’ve also been robbed,” Mr. Ricci said. “This is a club I don’t want to be a part of.”

Coming to L.A.

He said that when he moved to Los Angeles in 2013 from New York City—the Bronx, specifically—he thought that Los Angeles was a safe place. But it doesn’t feel that way anymore.
Mr. Ricci said that he feels Californians and Angelenos are in denial and just accept that crime will happen to them.
“It’s like accepting you’re sick, but not doing anything about it,” he said.
Mr. Ricci blamed recent policies that mostly started during the COVID-19 era including no-cash bail, the defund-the-police movement, cutting law enforcement resources, and other changes, leading some criminals to brazenly recommit crimes, feeling there are no consequences.
He said prosecutors have an obligation to protect residents, and if they don’t, the country has a Second Amendment for a reason. More guns have consequences, Mr. Ricci said, but in the right hands, they can help stop crime.
“This is the greatest country on Earth,” he said. “We have that ability to protect ourselves and ... the good outweighs the bad when arming people.”
Security camera footage of an attempted robbery at Vince Ricci's home in Los Angeles on Nov. 4, 2023. (Courtesy of Vince Ricci)

Security camera footage of an attempted robbery at Vince Ricci's home in Los Angeles on Nov. 4, 2023. (Courtesy of Vince Ricci)

Residents taking matters into their own hands is crucial, Mr. Ricci said. However, it may be too late to turn around things in the state.
“I think that L.A. is making an attempt to ignore the problem and California as a whole. And if they continue to do that, this may get past the point of reconciliation,” he said during the 30-minute episode.
The problem is not Los Angeles’s alone, Mr. Ricci said.
In November 2023—near Thanksgiving—his car was broken into and a backpack stolen within minutes on a San Francisco street where he was doing charity work, he said.
Mr. Ricci said he was admonished by locals for leaving his belongings visible inside, and that he was shocked that he would be blamed, instead of the thieves.
He said crimes such as those that have happened to him—and a sense that no one in authority is looking out for residents—have made Californians “numb” to crime and resigned to it being a part of life in the state.
“I am not unaware of what disturbing situations look like,” Mr. Ricci said, but “this is much more disturbing than anything I’ve seen in New York.”
He said that while New York has had crime issues, they were cleaned up by former Mayor Rudy Giuliani during the 1990s; the mayor had “empowered” the police. The result, Mr. Ricci said, was less graffiti, less homelessness, less crime, no loitering, and a lot less drug use on the streets.
“It was safe,” he said, and the presence of law enforcement was strong.
“They were part of the community,” Mr. Ricci said. “In L.A., the cops don’t even show up.”
A screenshot of security footage of a daytime robbery in Hancock Park, Calif., on Nov. 28, 2021. (Courtesy of the Los Angeles Police Department)

A screenshot of security footage of a daytime robbery in Hancock Park, Calif., on Nov. 28, 2021. (Courtesy of the Los Angeles Police Department)

Can California Recover?

Mr. Ricci said he’s unsure if California—Los Angeles and San Francisco specifically—can “bounce back” the way that New York City did.
He said with all that has happened, he’s unsure if he'll stay in the state.
“I don’t want to leave out of fear,” Mr. Ricci said, “but I’m not going to let stubbornness keep my wife and daughter here. ... I would never let my ego, my pride, keep me here.”
With that said, as much as he loves California—especially the weather—he sounded resigned.
“I love this city,” Mr. Ricci said, “but I think that the direction we’re going in is too unsafe for me to stick around and try to make a change.”
In addition to becoming educated about being armed, he said that voters need to speak up and “support the right people.”
And if change can’t be made at the ballot box, he said, at least if more residents exhibit strength as he did in November through arming themselves and fighting back, perhaps some criminals would think again before committing a crime.
Siyamak Khorrami

Siyamak Khorrami

Author

Siyamak Khorrami has been the general manager and chief editor of the Southern California edition of The Epoch Times since 2017. He is also the host of the “California Insider” show, which showcases leaders and professionals across the state with inside information about trending topics and critical issues in California.

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