A shooting that happened at a homeless encampment just a few feet from a day care center in a West Los Angeles neighborhood is rattling residents who are worried about the homelessness epidemic in Southern California.
Residents of Mar Vista said the shooting captured on video Monday is just the latest example of the kind of crime they now put up with 24/7 because of a growing homeless encampment in their neighborhood.
They said they’re worried about one day being caught in the crossfire, and they can’t understand why the city of Los Angeles isn’t doing more to protect them.
Homeless encampments in LA have become an everyday sight, like the one on Venice Boulevard and the 405 Freeway.
In the video of a shooting at that encampment, a black car is seen pulling up. Someone inside points a gun and fires a shot at a homeless man standing in the encampment. A puff of smoke is seen before the car takes off.
"I don’t feel safe!" resident Roman Samiley said.
Samiley and his family live just a few doors from the encampment where the shooting took place.
"I do not know how to answer my kid when she says, 'Daddy, I do not feel safe here. I do not want to live here anymore,'" he said.
As the NBC4 I-Team interviewed Samiley, someone from the encampment passed out just across the street from his house. In the past year, there have been other shootings at the encampment, including one last July.
When asked if residents think police are aware of the homelessness problem and violence, residents said they know police are aware.
"There is a big threat for our lives," George Frem said.
Frem owns a high end auto repair shop right across the street from the growing encampment. He said his customers are afraid to come to his shop because of the constant crime.
"People are doing drugs and selling drugs outside and that’s kind of OK with the city, as long as it’s happening outside our business," Frem said.
Even though LA has a law that forbids tents on sidewalks during the daytime, the LAPD doesn’t strictly enforce it.
That's a stark contrast to what is seen across the street in Culver City.
Just across the street from the Mar Vista encampment where the shooting occurred, there are usually no tents.
That’s because in Culver City, authorities don't tolerate tent cities.
When a homeless man began to pitch his tent in Culver City as NBC4 covered this story, officers made him move it right away.
Frem said he wishes he could move his business to just across the road.
The LAPD says it’s investigating the encampment shooting. A captain said the victim appears to be a homeless person living at the encampment. They've assigning an additional officer to check out the area, because of all the drug activity.