When we first moved in to our new loft a few weeks ago, we noticed that scores of homeless and drug dealers hung out at a bus stop on Main St, which we had a perfect view of. We have spent many hours watching people sell, buy and smoke crack down on the street below our house.
Every couple of days we would see an LAPD cruiser pull up and watch as the people scattered like so many cockroaches. During the past week, LAPD has upped their patrols to every hour if not twice an hour. They also have bike cops patrolling, and these are real LAPD officers, not the purple-shirt-wearing security guards. This is having a good effect, as there are much fewer people hanging out and I see far fewer crack deals and crack smoke-a-thons. Thanks, LAPD!
That being said, I do feel that chasing people off and/or arresting them is not the solution to the problem. Our country and her war on drugs makes problems like these worse by treating them as a crime and not a disease. Drug addiction is a disease and it should be treated like a disease. Locking up addicts does not cure their addiction.
I already volunteer a good portion of my time to Search and Rescue, but I realize that there is more I can do down here. I want to interview the people on the streets, to learn their stories and to record them for posterity. I also think volunteering at the Midnight Mission would be a positive use of my time, so I have contacted them and offered my time and services.