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Escondido mom fed up with increase in crime, homeless camps

Posted at 10:23 PM, Apr 03, 2017
and last updated 2017-04-04 01:24:04-04

A mom in Escondido contacted 10News fed up with the crime in her neighborhood.

Lori Wiar lives in an apartment complex on Lincoln near North Escondido Avenue. The complex is in a cul-de-sac that butts up against the connector ramp to the westbound 78 freeway.

Wiar says recently the homeless have set up in a camp right behind her complex.

"Hiding in the bushes, putting up tents, and camp chairs, mattresses, pillows, junk in general," said Wiar.

Wiar is especially worried about the children who walk through that area on their way to school.

"When a junkie passed out in front of my house last Friday, that was it," said Wiar.

The wet winter has led to an overgrowth of the weeds behind the complex. It's become an attractive spot for the homeless.

"From here you really have a hard time seeing that there's an encampment, hence the weeds," she said. "It's great to hide in."

She's lived in the complex for 15 years. She said she's never felt unsafe, until now.

"Nobody likes to go out after dark and it never used to be like that," said Wiar.

Wiar said she's recently had packages stolen from her front patio and cars have been broken into.  Her street is roughly a block from the police department headquarters and the Salvation Army.

"I'd like to be able to go out my backyard and not worry that somebody is going to jump over my fence and attack my dog and I," she said. "Who knows if they are sexual predators, for instance, we don't know."

Wiar said she wants to start a neighborhood watch program. We contacted the Escondido Police Department to see what's involved in that process, but Lt. Justin Murphy said he believes the department stopped participating in the program. Instead, he suggested residents use the National Crime Prevention Council as a resource.

Caltrans owns the lot where the homeless camp sits. By law, the agency must 72 hours notice before clearing out the camp.

A spokeswoman told 10News a crew will be sent out to investigate the situation.