Valley Village residents say unrepaired street lights leading to more car burglaries

VALLEY VILLAGE, LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Valley Village residents say street lights in the neighborhood aren't getting fixed fast enough and that's leaving many of them in the dark and concerned for their safety.

"It is so dark. It is so dangerous!" said Angie Fernández, who has lived in the Valley Village neighborhood for 25 years.

She says for some reason the streets lights now don't work.

"I take my dog out for walks and you can't see anything," she said.

Eyewitness News visited the neighborhood at night and found street lights off, such as on Magnolia Boulevard between Laurel Canyon and Whitsett Avenue.

Residents say the problems started about four or five weeks ago.

"There was a power surge and the lights went out and they never came back on," resident Deborah Lovett said. She said she wants to take walks after dinner, but now she doesn't feel safe.

"It's frightening and people can pop up out of the bushes, or the trees. With the homeless situation around - that's also very frightening," Lovett said.

Residents say over the last few weeks they've seen an increase in crime. They claim it's so dark, cars on the street cars are constantly being burglarized.

Suzanne Pagano said she's been living in the neighborhood for four years and never encountered trouble until recently when her car was broken into and damaged.

"Now they're starting to break in and breaking all the windows," she said.

Eyewitness News contacted the Department of Public Works. The department said it's an issue it is dealing with all over the city as light poles are getting vandalized.

"While any power system is vulnerable to copper wire theft, over the past four years the city has seen a dramatic three-fold rise in copper wire-related thefts and vandalism with its street lights. In response, the Bureau of Street Lighting is hardening access points, working more closely with LAPD on instances of theft, and using new technologies such as sensors and solar-powered battery-enabled lights to prevent streetlights from going out," said a statement from Miguel Sangalang of the Bureau of Street Lighting.

Unfortunately, fixing the issue isn't going to be so easy. Officials say there are problems all over the city, and there are labor issues because of the pandemic.

Getting to all the repairs will likely take months.

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