Pacoima

Pacoima


Pacoima sits between Mission Hills and Arleta and is a district neighborhood in the San Fernando Valley, falling under the actual jurisdiction of the City of Los Angeles. The first inhabitants of the area were semi-nomadic Native American tribes and the name Pacoima comes from the language of one of these original settlers. The area maintained its nomadic origins and didn’t settle down into a permanent community until the late 1800’s. The area was predominantly agricultural, and provided a bounty of citrus, nuts, beans, wheat and vegetables.

The presence of aircraft manufacturing giant, Lockheed’s main plant in nearby Burbank spurred the construction of a housing project in nearby Pacoima and in the 1950’s, the area changed almost overnight from a slow-paced farming community to a residential housing area for the employees of the nearby industrial plants and businesses. The neighborhood of Pacoima was home the majority of the Valley’s African-American community by the early 1960’s, as a result of racial discrimination in other areas.

The late 60’s saw an influx of immigrants from Mexico, attracted by Pacoima’s low housing costs and the nearby manufacturing jobs. A departure by the more affluent of the African-American population resulted in the district becoming primarily Latino in nature, and the closing of factories and a loss of jobs sent the area into an economic depression. By 1994, Pacoima found itself in the unhappy position of being the poorest neighborhood in the San Fernando Valley, with one out of three residents living in public housing. Despite the depression, residents have made an effort to keep the area neat, keep vacancies in the shopping centers and keep homeless off the streets. Crime in the area hit an all time high in the 1980’s and housing projects were rife with the presence of drug dealers. The community rallied against the problem and lead efforts to minimize the number of liquor stores in the district, meet with gang members to come to agreements, reducing the number of drive by shootings, and cooperate with the police to thwart crime. Pacoima has seen a significant decrease in crime since 2001 when police Chief William Bratton focused attention on the area.




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