I started my morning by excitedly checking out of my hotel, ready to drive over to Vanessa’s house and finally see one of my best friends after two months apart and a hodgepodge of strange adventures, both good and bad. It seemed, however, that my anticipation was to be rudely interrupted.
The first thing I noticed when I got to my car was that my cardigan, which had been neatly packed away, had been kicked under my car with just a corner of the sleeve peeking out. I was baffled, until I looked up and realized that the vent window in my rear driver’s side door was smashed and the two bins that had been inside my car and all of their contents were missing. I immediately found the parking lot attendant who said he had noticed it this morning and taken a video documenting the break-in and that his supervisor would be there by nine to go over the security footage with me. While I waited for the two hours between when I arrived and when the supervisor arrived I looked around the parking lot, finding some of my items scattered throughout. In one corner he had taken a vacuum-sealed bag of my clothes and dumped them out, ransacking my clothing for valuables, which he did not find. Behind the dumpsters he had emptied the bins of their contents, but left the bins.
When the supervisor arrived we went through the security footage from that night. An African-american male, about six foot, with bleached blonde dreadlocks just past his shoulders broke the window with a screwdriver at 2:57am. He stole approximately $1500 in goods - mostly camping equipment, but also a small jewelry box that I had forgotten to remove from the car which had a $300 turquoise and pearl necklace from Santa Fe in it. I then had to wait another hour for police dispatch to send a couple of officers to survey the scene of the crime and take my statement for an official investigative report.
Later that day, I finally arrived at Vanessa’s, ate some lunch and caught everyone up on the crazy adventures of downtown Los Angeles. Having left there I would say it is certainly not my favorite place I’ve stayed. There are lots of things happening in the area that are great for a visit but given the rampant crime, and the utter lack of resources given to homeless people to help curb the levels of poverty in the area it feels less than safe. I know that that may come off as privileged, but it is a statement of fact to establish that when poverty is high there is an increase in all kinds of crime, including violent crime, and my personal experience with this particular group of homeless people is that there is a lot of instability which might involve mental illness, drug use, or both. California is not doing enough to address the resources and housing crisis in Los Angeles and everyone knows it.