Residents in a Westchester neighborhood claimed Tuesday that their streets were being overrun by campers in RV's who were stealing from them and destroying the area.
“My friends say to me, ‘How can you stand to live here?’ And I say, ‘Well, you know it’s our neighborhood and we’re going to take it back now,'” Nancy Ono, a longtime resident said.
According to Ono, Los Angeles World Airports began tearing down buildings in the area around 2005, and sometime before 2012 the motorhomes started to arrive.
“They’re using our water, they’re using our dumpster, they’re illegally dumping in the alley,” Ono said.
Video shows dozens of motorhomes parked along the streets of the neighborhood, which is located less than two miles from LAX.
In many cases, belongings and trash were sitting outside the RV's and began to pile up on the streets and sidewalks.
Other residents complained of an increase in crime and said some of the RV people are using drugs in full view of the public.
“My neighbor just went and walked her dog. There’s guys out there smoking crack cocaine,” Gen Morgan said.
One man was caught on camera breaking into a car in the neighborhood, and images showed another woman taking off articles of clothing in order to wash herself from a spigot.
After complaining for years, Ono said they finally got some signs posted in 2014 with parking restrictions on West 94th Street and 95th Place, but it has done little to help.
A man who lives in one of the motorhomes and identified himself as "Scott" said many of the RV's are coming from Marina del Rey and Venice.
“I kind of felt sorry for people who lived up here. But it’s actually kind of cool, it’s like a big free trailer park,” Scott said and then laughed.
Los Angeles City Councilman Mike Bonin released the following statement regarding the encampments:
"My office has been working with service providers, city departments and local law enforcement to offer help to the people living on the streets and in their vehicles in Manchester Square and to address the issues the encampments create in the neighborhood. As part of this ongoing effort, we've been working with the Los Angeles Homeless Services Agency and Pastor Steve Weller to connect homeless people with services while simultaneously working with the Los Angeles Department of Sanitation to schedule a cleanup for the area to reduce the blight and public safety issues on sidewalks. We are also in close and continuous contact with both LAPD and LAWA PD officers, who are aware of the situation and are keeping a close eye on the area to protect the neighborhood.
"The situation in Manchester Square underscores the urgent need for Los Angeles to adopt a safe parking program similar to what has been successful in Santa Barbara, which allows people who live in cars or RVs to park overnight in lots away from residential neighborhoods. This is one of many programs Los Angeles needs to undertake in order to address the ways homelessness affects our city and it is something I will continue to advocate for on the Council's newly created Committee on Homelessness."