Violent crime in Los Angeles's Melrose District is rising, and so are the frustrations of business owners and residents.
At a virtual town hall on the matter on Wednesday, executives from the Los Angeles Police Department got an earful.
"I am losing employees now! They are afraid to come to work," said Dom Deluca of Brooklyn Projects clothing and skate shop.
He didn't bite his tongue at the Zoom meeting, discussing Melrose area crime with the LAPD.
"I figured out the riots," Deluca said. "I figured out the pandemic. But this whole crime thing? This is beyond any of us. It’s like the purge."
Another business owner, who listed her name as just "Cheryl" of Wasteland Consignment, also expressed frustration.
"Do we have to get armed guards? Is there anything else that you guys could recommend?"
The LAPD's Melrose meeting followed an alarming rise in armed robberies and daytime murder last month.
“The prevalence of guns is just gotten everybody," Peter Nichols of community organization Melrose Action said. "Merchants, visitors, my neighbors. Everybody’s losing it."
One vendor said he's aware of rising crime, but relies on street smarts to stay safe.
"All my transactions go through my phone," Joshua Jones, CEO of Dead Homies, said. "I got to keep it like that, or they gonna try and take it out of your pocket."
Mounted LAPD patrolled Melrose Avenue ahead of the town hall, where leaders did not discuss specific cases, but vowed to boost their presence and work with stakeholders to make things better.
“Without a safe environment we really have nothing," Deputy Chief Blake Chow of the LAPD said. "You have our commitment as a bureau, we’ll do everything possible to bring that era of public safety back.”
To "harden the target" for potential thieves, the LAPD says merchants should position security cameras for best angles and hide cash registers at night - real steps to bring safety back to the corridor and help restore quality of life.