Hollywood Hills Colony Seeks Barrier Gates
May. 29, 1985
LOS ANGELES (AP) _ When Rudolph Valentino, Gloria Swanson, Jean Harlow and Tyrone Power lived there, Whitley Heights was private and secluded in the hills above Hollywood.
Moviemakers of a different era and status still live there, but community residents say it is far too accessible to the denizens of the new - and seedier - Hollywood.
''We've had prostitutes bringing their customers here day and night,'' said Brian Moore, president of the Whitley Heights Civic Association. His home has been twice burglarized and his car vandalized three times.
Things have deteriorated into ''a desperate situation'' in the still- fashiona ble area, which is ''full of movie people ... a lot of cinematographers,'' Moore said.
Moore and his fellow residents are awaiting final City Council approval of what they hope will be the solution: 10 electronically controlled gates to be installed as barriers against incursions.
The residents are raising funds for the gates, which would make the neighborhood one of the largest in the city to be removed from public use.
Moore said the community, which is within walking distance of the Hollywood Bowl, was declared a national historic district in 1982. But crime reports for the first quarter of 1985 show that Whitley Heights had the highest crime rate in Hollywood, according to Los Angeles police Officer Angelo Morton.
In fact, Morton said recently, the relatively small community had residential and auto burglary and auto theft rates more than double those of many other Hollywood communities.
Secluded streets and heavy foliage that once made the 168-home neighborhood an exclusive address now make it an inviting village for prostitutes.
Moore and other residents blame their problems on the decline of nearby Hollywood Boulevard. Lawbreakers find the short trip up the hill an easy one, they say.
Residents have taken a number of measures to curtail the undesirable activities over the past several years: a Neighborhood Watch program, a professional community patrol service, numerous private security alarm systems.
But nothing has worked, they say, and they hope the security gates will finally grant them a wish they share with Greta Garbo: to be left alone.