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Exclusive: Del Rey Residents Frustrated, Worried About Safety Due To Ballona Creek Homeless Encampment

DEL REY (CBSLA) - A group of residents who live along the Ballona Creek in Del Rey said something has to be done about a growing homeless encampment, and in order to compel city and county officials to take action, they started taking hours and hours of video of the area.

There's hammering and sawing at all hours of the night, smoke rising from beneath the bridge, explosions, yelling and even screams for help, that residents captured on video.

"A couple of times, all of us have heard what sounds like a woman being raped down there," said one resident, who captured most of the video, but didn't want to be identified on camera.

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The video caught moments like a man with a bat pacing on the bridge or a woman, naked, bathing in the creek. The sights and sounds are too much for the residents whose condos on Centinela overlook the encampment at Ballona Creek.

"The noise in the middle of the night, it's arguing, it's screaming. It's, like, sounds of terror coming from under the bridge right outside our window," said a homeowner.

Ballona Creek Del Rey homeless
Video captured by a resident in Del Rey, Calif, shows a homeless man in Ballona Creek. December 2021. (CBSLA)

According to residents, the situation has only worsened in the last year. Homeless living in the encampment are now building a structure under the bridge.

"What they are doing is stealing electricity from the street lamps and they have tools. So, we have construction sounds going on around the clock and the flood channel echoes," the homeowner said.

With phone calls and emails to officials getting them nowhere, residents decided to take video of what they witnessed from their living rooms.

"That was the main reason. I was like no one will believe that this is happening. They'll think I'm exaggerating," said the resident who took most of the video.

He did not want to reveal his identity because he's concerned for his safety, as is a woman who also lives in the building.

"I have thought about moving, selling and moving out. It's a little frustrating. I am not enjoying my place anymore," she said.

Residents said they're most frustrated that no one has taken responsibility for the problems and that is because there are multiple agencies that have jurisdiction in the area.

The homeowner has kept a log that's eight pages long of all the agencies and people he has contacted since 2015.

"But it's been months and months and months, and there's been no action whatsoever," he said.  "We can't survive like this, and we can't afford to move either. So, what do we do?"

While residents impacted by the encampment said no one is doing enough, both the city and the county told CBSLA they're working on cleaning up the creek and getting the homeless housing.

The Los Angeles Department of Public Works said in a statement:

"Assessments and clean ups there have been a collaborative effort between the County and the City, including LASAN, the Bureau of Engineering and CD 11. As the video you sent indicates, the LAPD has also been involved."

David Graham-Caso, Chief of Staff to Councilman Mike Bonin's who represents the 11th District, also released a statement, saying:

"Councilmember Bonin and his team are concerned about the situation near the Ballona Wetlands, and have launched a multi-pronged effort to protect and restore the ecological habitat and to help people move off the street.

"Councilmember Bonin has proposed legislation to better protect environmentally sensitive habitat, has allocated funding for restoration of the area, and is pursuing programs to provide housing or alternative locations for designated safe parking for people living in their vehicles. As Councilmember Bonin demonstrated earlier this year at Venice Beach and at Westchester Park, where more than 300 people were brought indoors, offering people housing, shelter and services is the best and most effective way to address our homelessness crisis."


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