Beverly Grove resident says homeless man brought 'terror' to neighborhood

April Silverman said she went back and forth with the city for help and ultimately decided to take matters into her own hands.

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Wednesday, January 10, 2024
Beverly Grove woman says homeless man brought 'terror' to neighborhood
A frustrated resident of Beverly Grove took matters into her own hands after reporting criminal activity in her neighborhood involving a homeless person.

BEVERLY GROVE, LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- A frustrated resident of Beverly Grove took matters into her own hands after reporting criminal activity in her neighborhood involving a homeless person.

"He brought terror into this neighborhood," said April Silverman about the man she says was living in a tent near W 2nd Street and Sycamore Avenue near La Brea.

It started with just one tent in October, but quickly grew to individuals living in up to five cars along Sycamore Avenue. Silverman said there was rampant drug use.

"All day and all night, people used to come by his tent like they were looking for something," she said. "They had a lot of ... it seemed like transactional matters. They would come in their car like a drive-thru and you'd come to their window. They took cones from the city and they started blocking off all the parking on this block, and they literally took over the entire block. There was garbage everywhere and bad things happening, and fights. We had to call the police. That was our Christmas Eve, calling the police because they were fighting. People were really scared."

Silverman said on New Year's Eve, one of the homeless individuals tried to break into her neighbor's kitchen. She said the troubling activity started once that single tent appeared.

"I did all the steps that [the city of Los Angeles] tells you to do ... I did 311, no response, no help," she said. "Then I started emailing [L.A. Councilwoman Katy Yaroslavsky's] team."

For more than six weeks, Silverman went back and forth with Yaroslavsky's Director of Homelessness Strategies.

A CARE+ cleanup was scheduled for Thursday, Jan. 4, when the man would have to pack up and vacate the area, but be allowed to return.

Silverman said she knows the owner of the commercial property on Sycamore Avenue, and found out the tent was actually located on their private property. That's when she came up with a plan in coordination with the business owner to build a structure during the city's cleanup, so the tent could not return - and it worked.

Although some of the cars remain and the individual is still seen in the area, the tent is now gone.

"I felt like the city was defending this man and prioritizing him and ignoring me over the criminal activity that I saw," she said. "I had evidence and proof and they just didn't care. I realized, 'You know what? I have to take this into my own hands, physically, literally, because they are not protecting me and this neighborhood.' I have to take it back."

Yaroslavsky's office released a statement, saying in part, "The council office collaborated with [Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority] to secure interim housing for the individual living at the location, and directed L.A. Sanitation to conduct a CARE+ cleaning last week. We have also asked LAPD to investigate alleged criminal behavior, and will continue to work with the residents and business owners to ensure the surrounding area is safe."

It's unclear if the man accepted housing options from the city.

On Tuesday afternoon, a resident told ABC7 the man is now living in car that was last seen in the same Beverly Grove area on Monday.