Teens and the Homeless – a danger?

Lily Burk was 17 years old and found murdered in her car last week. I have been following the story through all the news outlets and my connections on Skid Row.
What jumped to my mind was this.
I have a 15 year old daughter who also lives in Lily Burk’s hoemtown of North Hollywood and has been to Skid row more times than she has been to the local mall She has learned to value people for the people they are and not for their socioeconomic status, but she has also learned to be exceptionally wary of people and factor in that while they might be nice – everyone is also potentially dangerous. I remember sitting with her and looking up every tenant in The Lamp Lodge on the Megan’s Law website. Of course the majority of the people did not show up on the website and many of them had no criminal history whatsever – not to mention no sexual offences. As a case manager I could not tell her what I knew about the histories of the Skid Row community – but public information is available and free.
My daughter, Jackie, was shocked at some of what she learned about the men and women who had been nothing but polite and kind to her.
I would like to think that Lily Burke, who volunteered in the building right next to my last office on 4th street (and where I still go to turn in my mother’s syringes) , was also educated about the dangers of all people, including the homeless, mentally ill and drug addicted.
But I have to tell you, if my daughter went missing and the police came to fingerprint my car: the fingerprints of about 12 felons would come up in the search. It would not be an indicator that one of them had taken or harmed her.
Did Charlie Samuel adbuct and kill her? I don’t know. I would not be surprise to discover that had happened. I would equally be unsurprised to discover Miss Burk let him in her car and it was someone else who murdered her. Did he deserve to be arrested for drug possession – heck yes. The arrest and fingerprints do look suspicious but it is circumstantial at the moment.
That teenage girl was in a neighborhood where my own teenager has been countless times. . It can layers of elements and can be as dangerous in the light of day as a dark alley is – but Miss Burk undoubtably knew that. Street smarts come with the hours she spent volunteering at Homeless Health Care.
Someone hurt her, and that is a crime beyond all words. By all accounts she was smart and sweet and compassionate. I’m horrified and sad to hear she has come to harm .
I am also worried that this will color the entire homeless population as dangerous murderes and crime against the homeless will rise again.

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