One family’s desperate act to escape overcrowded housing in L.A. County’s Koreatown is a reminder that the city is no longer a safe place to live.
A few months before he was killed, Keith Lam was living with his family in a rented apartment on San Pedro Street in a neighborhood he was proud to call his own.
But in May 2015, a year after his murder, the family was forced to move out of their unit because too many tenants had been evicted.
Keith Lam in his final days. (Courtesy of Lam family)
The move marked the end of a five-month struggle by Keith Lam’s mother, brother and grandmother to escape apartment living in Koreatown.
On April 6, the family was sleeping on the living room floor when a group of men knocked on their door and forced their way inside, pulling them from the home at gunpoint.
Five months later, they were finally able to move out.
The men stole everything they could from the apartment, including a mattress, blankets, a TV and DVD player.
“We didn’t have a lot of things. There was really no place to go,” Lam’s brother, Mark, said.
The incident, while shocking, is not unusual to the area.
Koreatown, a popular weekend destination with a large number of immigrant families, has long been known as a hotbed of crime, with many residents being pulled over by police on suspicion of drunken driving or traffic violations.
As a result, the city’s Board of Supervisors approved a resolution last year to remove residents from the neighborhood.
The resolution, passed unanimously in 2013, makes it official that the city will no longer be home to resident of certain “housing or affordable housing complexes.”
The city’s Board of Supervisors. (Bizuayehu Tesf