LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Amid violent robberies and follow-home attacks, many residents and business owners in the Melrose District say they are frustrated with the recent spike in crime -- something they say has drastically changed the place they used to love.
"Now, the minute it gets dark, I don't even feel comfortable being on my front porch," said a woman named Kim, who declined to give her last name.
Peter Nichols has lived in the neighborhood for 22 years. He's so fed up, he started a community group called "Melrose Action" to take matters into their own hands, recently raising enough money to purchase about 15 license plate recognition cameras to be placed on private property.
"I never thought in my lifetime I would see somebody with a gunshot wound and fatally killed on my street," he told ABC7.
He's so fed up, he founded the community group Melrose Action to take matters into their own hands, recently raising enough money to purchase about 15 license-plate recognition cameras to be installed on private property.
"If we did go through the bureaucracy, we'd maybe see something like this installed five years from now, if ever," he said.
At a news conference on Tuesday, Melrose Action announced the installation of some of those cameras, a tool that's been helping the police.
"Cameras and information provided from the community video has been instrumental in solving a lot of our cases," Los Angeles Police Department Captain Sonia Monico said at the news conference.
City Councilman Paul Koretz has directed discretionary funds for police overtime and has also donated to the cameras, a collaborative effort that he says is already working.
"Two weeks ago, we had a week that was down to three robberies," he said. "In the past seven days I believe we're down to zero robberies, so this effort is going quite well."
Said Kim: "Collectively when you do something like this, it becomes a pride of ownership, so you want to get involved. Right now I'm more involved than I've ever been in this area."
Still, residents know this is only part of the solution. They hope change comes at the county level as well.
"They run the court system. They need to get in step with what is going on in the streets of Los Angeles," Nichols said, "and help make the streets safer and keep some of these bad actors in jail."
The private surveillance system is expected to be fully operational in two weeks.