Los Angeles registers more complaints about homeless encampments and illegal dumping

A quarterly look at what services Angelenos are requesting from the 311 system
City Life

Illustration of a hand holding a phone dialing 311


Every three months, Crosstown looks at what services Angelenos are asking the city to provide. Using publicly available data, we detail if calls to the MyLA311 system are going up or down, and which neighborhoods most frequently request graffiti removal, dead animal pick-up and more. Here is what the picture looked like from July 1–Sept. 30.


Overall Calls

The third quarter was the busiest period for the MyLA311 system in two years, with approximately 363,000 requests made via phone, the website or app. That’s a 6.5% increase from the previous quarter.


Line chart of quarterly MyLA311 requests in Los Angeles


Boyle Heights frequently produces more MyLA311 reports than any other neighborhood (blame graffiti clean-up; more on that below). That was the case again this quarter, as the community generated 12,621 calls. The next highest counts were in Westlake (9,981), North Hollywood (9,581) and Van Nuys (9,298).


Graffiti removal

Approximately 22% of MyLA311 reports in the quarter were for graffiti eradication. Boyle Heights topped the list, with 6,871 tags painted over. That puts it slightly ahead of Downtown (5,940). After that there is a big drop, to Westlake (3,799) and Historic South-Central (3,712). The count for every other community was below 3,000.


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All told, there were approximately 80,000 graffiti reports citywide in the third quarter (the count includes tags that crews see and proactively paint over). That is down from 86,000 in the second quarter, and well below the level in late 2020 and the first half of 2021, when the quarterly count was around 95,000 reports.


Line chart of graffiti clean-up requests in Los Angeles by quarter


Homeless encampment calls

A cornerstone of Mayor Karen Bass’ homelessness strategy is the Inside Safe initiative, which focuses on moving residents of entire tent encampments into hotels, motels or other short-term housing. It has generated extensive attention, and may be driving Angelenos to report encampments more often than in the past. 


From July 1–Sept. 30, MyLA311 fielded 21,015 homeless encampment reports. That represents a 20% increase from the second quarter. The count in the third quarter of 2021 was about 13,000 calls.


bar chart of quarterly homeless encampment calls


There is a wide disparity by neighborhood. In the third quarter, nine communities each produced more than 500 calls, topped by the 1,600 in Westlake. Meanwhile, more than 90 neighborhoods had fewer than 300 reports.


Table of Los Angeles neighborhoods with the most homeless encampment complaints in the third quarter.


Bulky item pick-up

About 47% of MyLA311 requests in the third quarter were for bulky item pick-up, with Angelenos asking sanitation crews to haul away old couches, desks and more. There were 171,000 calls in the period, a nearly 10% increase from the previous quarter.


Horizontal bar chart of bulky item pick-up calls in Los Angeles


Bulky-item requests come in large numbers from communities across Los Angeles. The highest count in the quarter was the 4,702 calls in Van Nuys. That was followed by North Hollywood (4,311), San Pedro (4,134) and Koreatown (3,656).


Dead animal removal

If your pet passes away, or you see a dog, cat, possum or other creature that was hit and killed by a car, then the city will take it away for no charge. Unfortunately, the 8,337 dead animal removal requests in the third quarter was the highest number ever recorded in the city.


Line chart of quarterly dead animal removal requests in Los Angeles


The neighborhood with the most calls during the three-month period was Northridge, with 223. This was closely followed by San Pedro (217), Boyle Heights (203) and Sylmar (203).


Illegal dumping

Illegal dumping has long been a scourge on Los Angeles, with people or businesses trying to avoid paying disposal fees by tossing trash, construction materials or other detritus in alleys or on the street. Sometimes scofflaws drive into a community at night, drop their junk and then speed off.


The situation had been improving, and the approximately 20,500 calls in the first quarter of 2023 was the lowest count in years. Yet the practice has since increased: There were more than 27,800 reports from July 1–Sept. 30.


Bar chart of illegal dumping calls by quarter in Los Angeles


The South L.A. neighborhood of Broadway-Manchester was hit hard in the quarter, with 790 reports. Also frequently dumped on were Van Nuys (764), Florence and North Hollywood (748 each).


The practice, as the name implies, is against the law. The city even has a tip program, and someone who reports illegal dumping can receive up to $1,000 if the call leads to an arrest and conviction.


How we did it: We examined publicly available MyLA311 service data from Jan. 1, 2019–Sept. 30, 2023. For neighborhood boundaries, we rely on the borders defined by the Los Angeles Times. Learn more about our data here


Want to know how your neighborhood fares? Or simply just interested in our data? Email us at askus@xtown.la.