Homeless Crisis: Residents upset with strangers 'doing their thing' in public

A group of Valley Village residents is upset after they said their neighborhood has seen an increase in crime due to the homelessness crisis

There are several apartment buildings on Vantage Avenue and Susan Collins is one of the building owners in the neighborhood. 

"We've been experiencing a sharp increase of people breaking into the properties all time of day or night. They walk in the neighborhood screaming obscenities, and the most troubling is the ones that broke in and tried to set fire to multiple buildings," said Collins.  

Collins said surveillance cameras captured a man who appeared to be homeless performing a sexual act on himself outside her building. 

"I thought he was urinating on the porch, but he was not urinating. It took a significant amount of time and I don't know if I'm allowed to say the word, but he was doing his thing on the front porch," said Collins.

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On Wednesday night, Collins said another man was in the parking lot of the building disrupting the neighborhood at midnight. 

"He was very aggressive, very agitated, bathing, taking a shower and shaving his head and throwing items at us and screaming obscenities for almost two hours," said Collins.

Collins said she contacted the Los Angeles Police Department. 

"I called the police which one of the neighbors had already done, but she'd been disconnected and transferred several times so between the two of us working together we were able to finally get the police to come out, but it took about an hour," Collins said.

Once police arrived, Collins said not much was done. 

"They [police] pulled in the driveway and as soon as he [the man] saw the police car, he just jumped up and walked off and they [police] sort of said 'OK, well, see ya later.' They [police] just said it's the way it is right now, and it's not going to get better anytime soon," said Collins.

Collins said the neighborhood saw a shift.

"It's frustrating. It makes you feel powerless. It makes you fearful and angry. Everyone always commented on the fact that it [the neighborhood] has been lovely and quiet and we've never had these problems until the last couple of years," she said.

However, Collins has attributed part of the problem to the Housing First federal program and the tiny home villages, including the Alexandria Park location in the North Hollywood area. 

"In my opinion, I feel like it has really spiked since we had two of the tiny home villages open close by," said Collins.

Ken Craft, the CEO/Founder of Hope of the Valley Rescue Mission, which has created the tiny home villages, issued the following statement: 

"I know when we have met with senior lead officers of areas surrounding Tiny Homes there is not an uptick in crime. Given that the site is a mile away, I’m not quite sure there would be a correlation, and they would not be accessing any services at the site. Nevertheless she should call the council office to look into it."

The neighborhood is within District 2 with Councilmember Paul Krekorian. FOX 11 reached out to LAPD and Krekorian's office for comment but has not yet heard back from either entity. 

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