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Los Angeles, California

The LAPD Kōban

Common all over Japan, kōbans are small community police boxes, and now one is guarding one of L.A.’s megamalls. 

The tiny, lattice-windowed grey structure barely has room for a filing cabinet, mini-fridge and two chairs. But under the gold “LAPD” lettering, two police officers are keeping a vigilant eye out for anything untoward at The Grove, a popular outdoor shopping complex in Los Angeles.

A sort of grandfather to the all-but-gone blue telephone boxes of London that are now more famous as Doctor Who’s Tardis, this kōban is the first of its kind in L.A.

Kōbans, small neighborhood police substations, are common throughout Japan, designated with an “X” on Japanese maps. The one sitting outside The Grove was commissioned and paid for by the 600,000-square-foot mall.

The crimes that happen at this L.A. hub are rarely worthy of a movie–usually shoplifting, thefts from parked cars, screaming teenage fans who have spotted a celebrity out shopping, and once a Donald Trump impersonator who jumped in the ornamental fountain. But you won’t find the officers on duty complaining.

Know Before You Go

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