Hoping to deter incidents of crime from occurring near the Ballona Creek Bicycle Path in Del Rey, community leaders are planning to install security cameras at one of the path’s access points.
Los Angeles police and city officials had initially proposed to temporarily close the entrance gate on Culver Drive, between Purdue Avenue and Sawtelle Boulevard in Del Rey, for 90 days to examine the potential impacts of the access point on crime in the surrounding neighborhood. But community leaders say they are now considering installing surveillance cameras at the entrance instead of closing off the gate.
Residents who live near the bike path’s entrance on Culver Drive claim that the site has been a loitering point for gang and other criminal activity. The entrance, which has a lockable gate, has been the site of drug deals, fights and attacks on residents, and nearby homes have been burglarized, neighbors claim.
“Our friends and neighbors on Purdue Avenue have a real problem,” Del Rey Neighborhood Council president Mark Redick said. “We need to address the problems of our neighbors in that area and what we can do through the [camera] process is post another set of eyes.”
Some residents say criminal activity has originated near the bike path and they have called for the entrance at Culver Drive to be closed. But cyclists who regularly use the Class 1 path argue that closing the gate is not the way to fix the problem, saying that other solutions should first be considered.
Redick says he has also opposed closing the gate, as it would limit access to a “community resource.” Shutting off the entrance gate would probably not stop people from committing crimes, he argued.
Avid cyclist and Del Rey resident Howard Hackett said the Ballona Creek path is the “only east-west bike path in this area” and he did not see a need to close the entrance.
“I’ve been biking on that path for a lot of years and I’ve never had a problem,” said Hackett, who supports the plan for security cameras.
But Purdue Avenue neighbors said they were not happy about the camera proposal. They argue that the bicycle riders don’t live in the neighborhood and don’t have to deal with the crime.
Redick noted that the Del Rey Neighborhood Council voted against closing the gate and has supported using the cameras because they can help deter crime.
“The best way to combat the problem is to give law enforcement the tools, such as the cameras,” Redick said.
City Councilman Bill Rosendahl said the Los Angeles Police Department is currently looking at the potential cost of the cameras and where they may be placed.
The councilman said cameras are part of the strategy to improve the situation and officials are hoping to move forward with the plan.
“I want the police to come up with the proper strategy because safety is our number-one concern,” Rosendahl said.
Redick said the city is planning to use some of the funds allocated for street furniture projects to install the cameras and service them for the next couple of years.
“We’re trying to achieve a win-win for everybody,” Redick said. “We want to protect the neighbors but we don’t want to cut off a viable community resource that helps to define Del Rey.”