LOS ANGELES, Calif. (FOX 11 / CNS) - Residents in the San Fernando Valley are extremely concerned with the increase of homelessness in their area. Within the last year, homelessness has increased 30%.
Along with that, crime is going up in several LA neighborhoods.
Residents in Woodland Hills living between Avenue San Luis & Ventura Boulevard say their neighborhood used to be safe, but in the last few years they've had numerous property crimes. They say the west valley has become a hot bed for transients and homeless people who urinate on the street, use drugs and alcohol and pass out on the sidewalks. The problem is especially bad on Ventura Boulevard with transients making it their home and set up homeless encampments near the 101 freeway.
But is there a correlation between homelessness and crime? Some people seem to think so. LAPD Senior Lead Officer Sean Dinse blames the increase in crime on Prop 47 which passed in 2014. It was meant to reduce overcrowding in California prisons.
What it has done across the state is downgrade drug possession and non-violent felony crimes to misdemeanors-- crimes like shoplifting, grand theft receiving stolen property, writing bad checks & check forgery as long as the value is less than $950. He says, "Unfortunately, there are no repercussions for actions, if you commit a theft, or you're in possession of drugs or forcing somebody to get help."
Officer Dinse says that before Prop 47, low level offenders would face at least a year in jail or be forced into a residential drug treatment program.
Now, they get a small fine and are released.
Dinse adds, "Something has changed to cause the increase of crime, increase of transients, increase of drug addiction and unfortunately I don't see anybody getting any help for these issues."
With no real solution in sight, some San Fernando Valley residents say they are starting to feel like hostages in their own homes.
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