Miriam Ibarra, 30, a resident of one of Laurel Avenue’s apartment buildings, said she’s noticed a stronger police presence over the past year. “There has been consistently more police circling through here,” Ibarra said. “And they clean off the graffiti really quick now. I do feel a lot safer knowing they’re around.” Better coordination between agencies has gotten problems taken care of quicker because agencies can share information easily and provide tips on other violations when they follow up on complaints, said Raj Patel, spokesman for the county’s Building and Safety Department, which is part of the Nuisance Abatement Team. “Typically, we go out on a complaint within 24 hours, but sometimes it may take a couple of days,” Patel said. Aggressive police work and pushing property owners to voluntarily comply with county codes is also working to improve quality-of-life issues – from unkempt, junk-filled yards to graffiti to crime problems, Patel said. “Often people don’t think we’re doing something about \ when we are. It’s just that there is a due process we must follow,” he said. “We can’t go on someone’s property for visual blight. Only if there’s an immediate safety hazard.” Patel said his department spends a lot of time working with owners to persuade them to comply with county codes. “It all boils down to people, not stuff,” he said, adding that judges tend to sympathize with a homeowner who is at least showing some effort to comply, even if slowly. “One person’s junk is another person’s treasure,” Patel said. “To remove junk off someone’s property, we have to go through a judge. People have rights, so you have to prove to a judge that it’s a public nuisance. That’s not easy to do.” [email protected] (562) 698-0955, Ext. 3029 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORESurfer attacked by shark near Channel Islands calls rescue a ‘Christmas miracle’For years, that was not the case, he added. “We’d have meetings and nothing would get done. \ show up and sit in the back, doodling in their notebooks, then later give us the runaround.” For example, an alleyway off Laurel Avenue had overflowing Dumpsters surrounded by abandoned couches, graffiti-covered carports and even a burned-out car and garage. It had sat that way for eight months, residents said. Now, most of the garages sport clean white walls, the Dumpsters are couch-free and the burned garage has been replaced with a new garage. An abandoned building near Laurel Avenue on Telegraph Road that for years had attracted criminal activity was recently torn down. SOUTH WHITTIER – Quality-of-life improvements in South Whittier have traditionally been slow in coming. But now some residents say they are starting to see results after a concerted effort by a joint task force of county agencies that has spent the past year focusing on blighted properties, graffiti and street crime. The county’s Nuisance Abatement Team and the South Whittier Law Enforcement Task Force have brought officials from more than 10 agencies together to focus on those issues. The efforts seem to be making a dent in what to some residents had seemed like intractable problems, said South Whittier resident Jose Mercado, captain of the Telechron Neighborhood Watch. “It had felt for years like our complaints fell on deaf ears. But for about the past year, ever since we got a new field deputy in our area, they’ve turned some things around,” Mercado said.
Getty Images – Getty Everton boss Marco Silva can breathe a huge sigh of relief as his team finally ended their dreadful run of form with a 2-0 victory over West Ham.Bernard netted a fine solo goal in the first-half and Gylfi Sigurdsson came off the bench to score a stunning goal late on to seal the Toffees’ first win in five games. Getty Images – Getty 2 2 Reports in the build-up to the game suggested Silva might pay with his job if Everton were to lose again, with the club entering the fixture inside the relegation zone.But Bernard came to Silva’s rescue in the 16th minute, twisting past Arthur Masuaku and then slipping the ball under goalkeeper Roberto.Richarlison went close to a second from an Alex Iwobi pass but his low shot came back off a post and Iwobi then shot at Roberto from distance.Mark Noble created a chance for the visitors with a lofted ball over the defence but Pablo Fornals got no power on his header.Richarlison put the ball in the net again for Everton early in the second but his volley was ruled out for offside. Everton delivered the performance their manager needed Everton eased the pressure on Marco Silva West Ham threatened again as Fornals shot wide but Lucas Digne was only narrowly off-target from a long-range free-kick for the hosts and Yerry Mina twice headed at Roberto from corners.Realising his side was lacking a presence in midfield, Hammers boss Manuel Pellegrini sent on Jack Wilshere but the change had little impact.The Toffees went close again as Walcott rattled the crossbar with a ferocious half-volley and Alex Iwobi wasted another chance as he was put clean through on goal but shot at Roberto. Everton also had another goal chalked off when a Mina header was disallowed.The Merseysiders were almost made to pay for the missed chances as the ball fell to Angelo Ogbonna from a corner but Jordan Pickford saved brilliantly.However, Sigurdsson, who had been dropped to the bench for the clash, sealed the deal with a trademark goal late on, curling a wonderful strike into the top corner from the edge of the box.