The person who has been arrested more than anyone else in Los Angeles in the past six years is not a drug dealer or a gang member. It is Annie Moody, a 59 year-old homeless grandmother who lives on skid row.
She's been arrested nearly ten times a year for the past six years, according to a fascinating profile today by Gale Holland in the LA Times. But Moody is not some straightforward hard luck victim of the system; she says she prefers living on skid row, and staunchly resists attempts to move her into shelters, always returning to her tent on the streets. As a result, she racks up arrests, spending short stints in jail before going right back to homelessness.
That sitting and waiting has cost her: Moody has been arrested by Los Angeles police 59 times in roughly six years, according to LAPD arrest data — more than anyone else in the city. Since 2002, she has been tried 18 times, convicted 14 times and jailed for 15 months, costing taxpayers at least a quarter of a million dollars, according to court and law enforcement records.
Moody says she wants no services or housing. She wants to be where she is. So what should we do about people like Ann Moody? Put them in jail? That would seem to be a needlessly vindictive waste of time and effort, not to mention money. Leave them alone? Fine, but the ongoing economic resurgence of downtown LA will inevitably make blatant street homelessness less tolerated by the community. So... what? I do not know.
Fortunately for all of us, the vast majority of homeless people on the streets would welcome some help, if we would bother to give it to them.
[The full story. Photo: AP]