As Glendora Police and the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau investigate Thursday's double homicides of two homeless men in Glendora, much of the community focused its attention on the small transient community that has taken refuge in various areas of the city.
While the Coroner’s Office has yet to positively identify the two dead men, Capt. Tim Staab said the victims were longtime transients in the city who often slept overnight under an awning at the car wash on the corner of Vermont Avenue and Route 66. The area is frequented by local transients, according to Staab.
"We know that homeless people do have a tendency to spend the night [at the car wash]," said Staab. "We suspect the two dead men are homeless people who slept here at night."
While transient community in Glendora is small – numbering just 20 during the 2011 Homeless Count – community residents have expressed concern over the groups of transients who congregate in popular city spots, with some calling for more stringent policing of the transient community.
Glendora, like most cities in the area, does not allow permanent homeless encampments, leaving many of the transients to set up temporary encampments before moving on to other locations.
Areas homeless often settle in places such as South Hills Park in Glendora and the flood control channels in Azusa.
On Dec. 31, 2012, the remains of a homeless man were discovered off a hiking trail in South Hills Park. While Glendora Police determined that the man had died of natural causes, residents raised safety concerns within the city park, often frequented by families.
Earlier this week, a homeless man was beaten by another transient in an alley behind a business complex in the 900 block of S. Grand Ave.
Still, Glendora’s serious crime rates have consistently remained low, with most of the area crime being larceny and other property crimes. The murders were the first to occur since April 2009, when Zachary Flanders, then 21, killed 20-year-old Ronson Edgerly during a marijuana buy gone wrong.
Other local residents who have interacted with area transients say most of them are harmless and keep to themselves.
“You see them around, minding their own business,” said Glendora resident Jeff Deaton. “They’re harmless most of the time.”
Although there are no permanent homeless shelters in Glendora, the East San Gabriel Valley Coalition for the Homeless hosts the annual Winter Shelter in the city for area homeless during the winter months.
In 2012, Glendora Police Chief Rob Castro told Patch his departments works closely with organizations such as the Shepherd’s Pantry to offer food and clothing for the homeless they encounter. Through fundraisers such as Empty Bowls through Citrus College, Glendora Police provides food vouchers and other assistance for the local homeless population. Castro said most transients they encounter are suffering from substance abuse or mental illness. Castro said Glendora Police will often refer these people to nearby mental health or rehabilitation facilities.
Still, most of the homeless officers encounter are chronically homeless, living a lifestyle many of them have chosen.
“There are never enough resources to keep people off the streets,” Castro told Patch in 2012. “We try to find ways to co-exist. There are two sides – one side wants us to get the homeless out of the city, which we can’t do legally. Another side says we have to show compassion for these people, as long as they’re not violating the law.”
How do you think the community should address local homeless issues? Tell us in the comments below.