LOS ANGELES (CBS) — It’s a quiet little neighborhood that isn’t so quiet at night.
As Jeff Nguyen reports for CBS2 and KCAL9, the tree-lined neighborhood is being overrun by pimps and prostitutes.
And he says the problem has gotten so out-of-hand, some families are afraid to venture out in this Sun Valley neighborhood when the sun goes down.
Nguyen went along on a LAPD ride-along as cops from the Foothill division busted the hookers and their pimps. And they also busted the johns as well.
Officer John Bustamante said patrol cars don’t even scare the hookers away. “We’ll be driving by, and you see them out here — half naked — waving down vehicles.”
And it’s not like the neighborhood is only active at night.
Even in the middle of the day, and near homes, men cruise Lankershim Boulevard in Sun Valley looking for action.
And with hidden cameras, we documented what the neighborhood was like just one day following the bust. Back to business as usual, and ever-busy.
Pet shop owner Norma Gonzales has had enough. “This is not something I want to see. I’m a mom.”
She says her three sons — ages 5, 12 and 16 — see many prostitutes every day. And having to explain the birds and bees to her youngest was not something she was prepared to do. Seeing the blight on her neighborhood she says, “makes me feel embarrassed sometimes.”
For her children, she says there is no escaping it.
Likewise says Maria Meza, a mother of four. Her son wanted to know why she seemed to speed up out of nowhere. “He saw a young lady with almost no clothes on. Mom, ‘What did I do? Why did you turn so quickly?’”
Meza refuses to even let her children walk to school, even though the school is only two blocks away from her home. “I’m angry, upset. Sad.”
Officer Bustamante says the prostitutes often pretend to be waiting for busses up and down busy Lankershim. “But we’ll stop them and ask what bus they’re waiting for,” he says, “and they won’t even know what bus it is.”
The LAPD conducts these sex stings routinely, because they believe the prostitution leads to other more serious crimes and offenses.
Meza refuses to believe prostitution is a victim-less crime. She believes kids, like hers, are suffering. “They’re not allowed to be kids. To be in front of my yard, to be in front of my porch. Cause they just see a lot of stuff.”