PORTER RANCH (CBSLA.com) —  A part of Porter Ranch is eerily empty after thousands of residents left their homes to escape the massive methane gas leak from the nearby Aliso Canyon well.

Lisa Vargas joined the exodus and left her neighborhood, which is now lined with vacant homes. She relocated her family to an apartment.

“It is definitely a ghost town. The smell is terrible. And it’s awful because so many people have left,” Vargas said.

Because so many residents have left, security is becoming a concern. That is why the Los Angeles Police Department is stepping up patrol in the nearly empty neighborhood. Police are also asking those who stay behind to look after other people’s homes.

Vargas said: “We are asking everyone that is staying to help watch the houses.”

Jaya Sareen said she did notice a more prominent police presence in the neighborhood. “I just seen the police car you know around this lane over here. We’ve seen them outside.”

On Wednesday, Southern California Gas Co. that owns the leaky well agreed to relocate residents within 24 to 72 hours of their request to leave.

A resource community center located at 19731 Rinaldi Street in the Porter Ranch Town Center is open seven days a week to help affected residents with the relocation process, file a claim and hear how to reduce odor in their homes.

For updates regarding progress on repair efforts, click here or call (818) 435-7707.

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