Homeless crime intensifying in West Hollywood

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A surge of homeless crime near Poinsettia Park in West Hollywood is forcing disgruntled residents to move away from the area. (KABC)

For the past six months, a West Hollywood homeless encampment across the street from Poinsettia Park has grown so rapidly that disgruntled residents in the area are moving away.

Some of the complaints have included loud voices at night and even armed fights between members of the homeless population.

"I know where the drug dealers are, I know where they turn tricks at," an area resident named Dave said. "I see all of it and they're working together. It's sort of sweet in a disgusting-zombie-apocalyptic sort of way."

Dave reported routinely observing human defecation, public masturbation, gang beatings, drug use and prostitution.

"People are moving out ... because they were tired of waking up in the morning and stepping in human feces," Dave said.



The uneasy situation is forcing the city to investigate. Councilmember Paul Koretz of L.A.'s Fifth District recently took a tour of the street.

"Solving the problem of the criminal homeless in the Poinsettia Park area is my top priority and there isn't even a second priority," Koretz said. "This is what has to get handled first."

Last week, L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti talked about the possibility of enforcing a ban on sidewalk sleeping. The neighbors support the idea, but it's a more difficult battle for police because there is no designated place to send the homeless.

"The city's looking at different options and enforcement is one option, but it's not the only option and not necessarily the best option," LAPD Capt. Aaron McCraney said. "But it's something in the tool bag for us to take a look at."

Officers continue to patrol the area, but neighbors say their presence isn't frequent enough to keep the criminal activity at bay.
Related Topics:
crimehomelesswest hollywoodgang activitygang violenceprostitutiondrugsWest HollywoodLos Angeles County
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