Mapping LA Neighborhoods
MAPPING L.A. > San Fernando Valley


Tell us what Pacoima means to you

  • What makes this a good place to live? What are the downsides?


is close to hollywood what else do you want = )

— N. Argento
September 30, 2012 at 5:32 p.m.

Born and raised in Pacoima. It is not a bad and dangerous place how some said it to be. Instead it is a comforting place made up of humble and friendly people. It is was someone can truly call a home.

— Pacoima<3
March 14, 2012 at 9:12 p.m.

I grew up in Pacoima, I was born in 1959 and lived there until i was married in 1982, when i was growing up there i remember that it was a safe town to live in, most of my life i lived between Pierce St. and Carl St on Amboy Ave, i recall when it was safe to walk to the jack in the box at night or walk to the corner liquor store (grey jug) to buy soda and candy. when i graduated from san fernando high in 1977 i recal how pacoima had started to change, it was not so safe anymore, gangs had started to take over certain areas of pacoima, but my sister and three other brothers never got drawn into any of that, we were one family that survived and did finally move away from all that, but pacoima will always be with me, i wish i would have had the foresight to have taken pictures back then, there are so many places that are gone now that were part of my childhood, i am 52 now.

— Arthur D. Sierra Jr.
March 10, 2012 at 12:01 a.m.

it certinly is not beverly hills

— ese grenudo
March 2, 2012 at 3:37 p.m.

My family moved to Pacoima about 1947. I turned 2 that year. My dad bought about 3/4 acre and built a house while we lived in a small trailer. We lived on Beachy Avenue at the intersection of what later was Garber St. My dad worked for Lockheed. Beachy was a dirt street then. There were vegetable farms in front of our house and behind it with irrigation ditches and ponds. We had a large garden each year and all kinds of fruit trees. I had a great time hunting lizards & snakes, fishing and swimming at Hansen dam. By the time I was about 10 all the land around our house was subdivided and developed. I attended Canterberry Elem., Beachy Elem., Pacoima Jr Hi and graduated fom San Fernando H.S. 1963. Spent 3 years in the Army '63 to '66. Came back and attended Valley College and graduated from East Los Angeles College in '71. It was a great place to grow up. My parents sold their house in the middle 70's and I moved to Colorado in 1973. I have good memories of Pacoima.

— Allan F
January 8, 2012 at 11:53 a.m.

Well what can I say, I agree with what most people say it's not the best place to raise children, it is however a hotbed for talent, actors, skaters, athletes, politicians, & has really great k-9 schools , weather is great low UV, low 80's

overall it needs to adapt to a green ecology movement.

— A B Boy
December 26, 2011 at 8:08 p.m.

I was born and raised in pacoima/arleta. ,Now reside in las vegas nv. I have heard it has changed for the worse. My family ran thr old Panorama theater back in the 60's, we also went on o own the Americana theater, then on to the Peppertree Theater back in the 80"s. So sad to hear about all thr gangs and stuff. I now reside in Las vegas,Nv. And I am now a Paranormal Investigator. I attended Canterbury Ave. Elementary School back in the early 60's also.

— Cate Lynn
December 25, 2011 at 1:11 p.m.

Born and raised in pacoima very convinient. Barber shop and Farm Market down the street also 233 around the corner to go any where. Made me Who i am so i love it especially those BBQ at Hanse Damm

— David
December 13, 2011 at 11:14 a.m.

Lived there from 1990 to 2009... if you want to raise a family go elsewhere, we did.

— SoCalPaul
September 27, 2011 at 7:25 p.m.

From 1997 to 2006 I lived in Pacoima. I am white and as far as I knew, the only one within several city blocks. My neighbors did not all speak English and yes, at times I heard gun-shot.

...That being said, I must point out that my time living there were the best of the 25 years I spent in So. Cal. area. I got to a point that I never locked my car or house and NEVER had a problem! The neighbors I had with limited English communicated better with the offers of their tree-grown fruits in exchange for mine (I had lemmons, they had grapes and plums).

Pacoima has a bad rap with the press. When I first moved there, I did not know what to expect, But soon understood that the community respects those who offer them the same respect.

Again, NEVER a problem!

I actually miss the place.

— John Williams
August 22, 2011 at 1:25 a.m.

i moved to pacoima in the 60's. Thats where my childhood memories are .met my best friend Mary there ,she gone now, got hooked on heroin.But it made me who i am , being white it was hard at times, but it made me street smart.i remember also skating around the projects with like 20 kids,, on skate boards ,bikes scooters, one skate. i wouldn't change it for nothing.

— helen b
August 20, 2011 at 5:20 p.m.

I lived in Pacoima from 1963 to 1967. I lived with a family on Kagel Canyon, just up the street from PJHS. All I remember is that being a white dude in pacoima is a hard road to tow. I do know that while I was growing up there I learned how to get along with all people. Although it was hard for me there I do want to say it was the best time of my life. I remember White Front, Dales market and the pizza place across the street I had great times back then. If you are an outsider you might think Pacoima is a jungle but, if you are a resident you love it with all your heart. I go back at least once a month and check on the progress of Pacas, I will always call it my hometown.

— Huerro
June 26, 2011 at 1:29 p.m.

Pacoima, the one place that i can truly call home. I have lived there all my life and have experienced so much which has given me many good and bad memories. I met so many unique individuals that have become real genuine friends who will always be there for me. I plan on moving back when I graduate from college with my Girl Friend who I love so much. I want her to experience the Pacoima life and see the world in a pacoima perspective, which pretty much means being badass. :)

— Ramon Andrade
May 17, 2011 at 11:59 p.m.

pacoima is ghetto

— loco
May 6, 2011 at 2 p.m.

its a place to keep it real. <3 Mind your own business and do what you half to do.

— 123456
April 27, 2011 at 8:55 p.m.

I love Pacoima, I was raised in Pacoima from the age of 13-22. Not the best city to live in, but when you come from a big family and hard working parents, it's great! Great culture, people here take it with pride. Mostly Spanish speaking families and first generation folks. You get your really humble people but there are also your obnoxious ones; kids are loud, teens are punks (literally) young adults are either still in school (college), work part/full time jobs or in a gang and the middle aged are hard workers. Crime isn't too bad, I mean yes a lot of helicopters but nothing too crazy... don't mistake those "gun-shots" for fireworks/crackers. Schools there are great; teachers are highly involved with their students, you have your parks and libraries there too. Overall, it's an ok place to live if you're young or old, just try to move out as soon as you can :P

— Alex
April 13, 2011 at 8:42 a.m.

I was raised in Burbank from the age of 7 till I was 18. I moved to Pacoima, because my parents were able to afford a descent home here. I was culture shocked when I moved here! All my life I had gone to school with white people and lived around white people. To move to a block where I only saw hispanics was very different to me. I was scared and cried for days that I wanted to go back to Burbank, everything was different from the grocery stores to the school system, to the kids. Eventually I found a job in Pacoima (Pinata Magica) off of Laurel Cyn and Osborne, which is now closed down. I started meeting people, going places and actually enjoying some places of Pacoima. As I went through with college and started working with the school system I was shocked to see how different kids behaved than the school I went to. My mom reminded me that a lot of these kids dont have what I had grwoing up (not that i'm better in any way) Just that there parents had to probably work 10 times more than my parents, so these kids acted this way for a certain reason. Point being is I enjoy living in Pacoima, I don't think I would raise my kids here, but most def. bring them by to see different cultures.

— Daisy
March 7, 2011 at 10:16 a.m.

Pacoima is the Best!!! memories the shoe string,gemco,two guys,safeway,hansen dam,yellow truck delivered donuts,.I loved to play with kites,roller skates.wienershizner in pacoima.I went to sharp elm,pacoima jr!my best friend was sylvia sanchez.In elementay olga lopez was my best friend.Ive been living in Pacoima since 1961.currently live by the Pacoima Library.PACOIMA IS THE BEST!!!

— Eva
February 21, 2011 at 8:59 p.m.

My mom used to live there and right now the only one who lives there is her tio. when we went in december it didnt seem too bad. i like that everyone speaks spanish because it just makes it easier. theres all types of people here. i dont think its best if you have young children tho.

— Sum1 whos mommy lived there and recently went!!
February 10, 2011 at 7:10 a.m.

I love hearing gunfire at night, gangs out in the street, helicopters.. oh wait, its opposite day.

Dont more here.

— Pacoima resident
January 19, 2011 at 5:06 p.m.

I had to learn how to speak and read spanish when I moved here years ago. The biggest mistake is what pacoima means to me. I've never seen so many helicopters in one night. Neighbors who party Fri-Mon morning. Fri-Sun afternoon or evening would be nice, not monday. Pacoima is a nightmare. Streets are congested with cars from homes with 7 families living in a 3 bedroom house. I understand that times are tough, but geez thats just not healthy. All I see are these gangbangers and drunks roaming the streets. Police sirens EVERY NIGHT!

So basically, Pacoima is a nightmare.

— Chandler
January 12, 2011 at 5:27 a.m.

Pacoima is not bad i rather be in pacoima then the west valley . people say that is not a nice place if your white.NOT TRUE. But i will say that the west valley is bad for a hispanic .!

— Leo
December 3, 2010 at 12:22 p.m.

i was born in mexico and raised in pacoima

i loved pacoima it was mi home

i miss pacoima and my school friends

i went to maclay my last year was 1983

me and my best friend joe torres

— armando vasquez
November 9, 2010 at 9:09 a.m.

I was born & raised in Pacoima on Foothill & Terra Bella. I love it over there, its really convenient because I get my haircut across the street & the shopping Center & I go to church across the street also. Even though People say Pacoima is pure violence But I love it up here cuse its quiet over here

— Joshua Young
November 5, 2010 at 7:16 p.m.

Best memories ever, nobody locked their doors, kids stayed out after dark playing in the street, slept over each others homes, homemade go carts, stilts, hide n seek, dodge ball, skates, bikes w/sissy bars, pools, freeze tag, 45's in the garage, then 8 tracks, ice cream man, pony rides, helms bakery truck, milkman, community market, no violence, no crime...moved away in 1971 ... we cried (5 kids) and cried to go back...we didn't like what is now West Hills we wanted to go home. Wonderful Days it is a shame things have changed so much

— Missing Those Days
November 3, 2010 at 1:04 a.m.

in one word. HOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

— Nancy
October 23, 2010 at 10:59 a.m.

Pactown(Pacoima) is my home. I was born and raised here.I love living here. I just love the smell of carne asadas on saturdays and sundays.some people think that it is just pure violence, but it is not that dangerous.But i love it here.

— Lupe Carrillo
October 21, 2010 at 9:24 p.m.

i was born and raised in pacoima family house on terrabella.parents separated we moved to projects around 1960 moved out of pjs mid 8O s growing up was a hard life in pacoima good times as well as not so good times like anything in life we adapt and over come and move on people would tell me that pacoima is bad how could you live there life in pacoima was the norn most people were good family oriented the life lessons that i learned made me strong to servive in a world that today is out of control in the worst way. i became a truck driver in the late 8O s moved to san antonio in 92 the last time i visited pacoima was in 94 i miss pacoima from time to time .the gangs never bothered me it was the other way around i bothered them .through the grace of GOD i lived and moved on.pacoima is a place that i think of quite often i show my kids on the inter net pictures of the many places in pacoima where i lived and played growing up in the valley i will hold the memories happy as well as sad dear to my they say you can take the boy out of pacoima but you cannot take pacoima out of the man .GOD bless you all

— nick/ big bear hernandez
October 20, 2010 at 4:17 a.m.


— lola oregel
October 13, 2010 at 1:28 p.m.

I remember going to pacoima park to play baseball. I loved Hansen Dam back in the day for family picnic's and for swimming. I use to walk from my house, at 13452 Brownell to all over Pacoima. I knew everybody, back in the day and went to all the parties. It was like family.

— Bucky Jones
October 6, 2010 at 10:07 a.m.

are you the valerie thornton that lived in canoga park ? on desoto st. ?

— ac
September 21, 2010 at 3:44 p.m.

as a kid i remember buying pan de dulce at Tres Sierra. i believe they filmed an episode of Chips there.

i also recall getting our groceries at Dales which later became Price Food. There was a time they film a scene on "Body Heat" on O'Melveny. there was no Walmart but we'd go to White Front, which became Two Guys, which became Target. Montague Street School was cool except for that snapping turtle at the back of the playground. Pacoima Junior High was alright but there were bullies. there were lots of fights there.

as far as parks go, i liked Roger Jessup. the horses were cool to feed. Payton Park sucked 'cause everyone peed in the pool. Fernangeles was a little far but was nice. Branford Park has an awesome robot jungle gym / slide.

We'd go to Santa Rosa instead of Mary Immaculate...probably 'cause there were more English masses.

San Fernando mall was crappy compared to Panorama Mall but the Northridge Mall kicked both of their asses.

Although In & Out is my favorite now, then it was all about Carl's Jr. the closest one was by the Mervyn's & Chuck E Cheese.

i barely recall Hansen Dam having a decent amount of water. see the planes come and go at Whiteman Airpark was cool.

finally i love visiting my old block on Kelowna whenever i vacation there.

— C Lo
August 28, 2010 at 11:33 p.m.

i say never forget were you came from i am 35 years old lived i was born in guadalajara mexico i was raised in the 12700 van nuys apts on borden and i was only 5 years old i remember there was more black poeple than any other race my child hood was wonderfull living in apartments you have alot of poeple together on one place lots of kids everywere but united in our own way mexicans and blacks living together no one beleives that it can happen i whent to pacoima elem braoudus elem maclay jr high san fernando high and i love pacoima it has made me what i am today if i was rich and wealthy i would still go back to my hometown were i will always feel at home its not were you from its were you are going dont ever forget were you from people i miss my apts and the homies much love to the hood the block that is 818 in my vains

— un garcia
June 28, 2010 at 1:47 p.m.

I currently live in Pacoima near the Airport. I moved to Pac-town from West Hollywood in 2006 to live with my GF who was born and raised in Pacas with her two brothers, her mom and dad in the 1970s.

The people from the neighborhood are seemingly hard-working, "salt of the earth" types. They do things on their own agenda. No one calls on the phone before coming through. HEY! Is Gilbert home!? NO! Come back lata…eh?

YES! They work hard thus, they party HARDER! YES! I occasionally hear random gun shots after midnite. YES! My dog howls like the wolf, as the LAPD sirens scream down the street throughout the night. Yes! As I drive to gas up at the local station, I see homeless sleeping on the bus stop benches. Yes, I often see stray dogs roaming Pacas. Pit bulls, Rots as well as the almighty Chihuahua’s. In 2010, it's been 5yrs and I've never witnessed a single crime. Ironically, I'm a person that subscribes to LAPD e-mail notifications of crimes committed in my zip code and general info. i.e. sobriety checks etc.,

Ultimately, there's an "element" of danger anywhere you live in LA. With that said, Pacas is rich in heritage, culture and communality. I have NO plans to move at the moment.

— G$
May 27, 2010 at 7:24 p.m.

Wonderful childhood memories: Sharp Ave Elem, Pacoima Jr High, White Front, Community market for big pickles/the best roast on Sundays you order they slow roasted it was a real treat. Roger Jessup Dairy deliverd milk to the door, Helms bakery truck stopped if you put the Helms sign in the window or just ran out your front door, pulled out those long drawers full of Cream Puffs & Jelly donuts...Ice Cream man we called him 'Red' taught my lil sis how to say 5 instead of ive everytime she took the quarter to him to get 5 popcicles for the 5 of us. slept with front doors open, came in when street lights came on sometimes in summer later than that. Walking Stilts, go carts, dodge ball, freeze tag, jump rope,3 flys up, hide n seek, red rover, some kids in the front yard some in back yard we would throw the ball over the house, walked our turtles around the neighborhood, skateboard, skates, shared so sometimes only 1 skate each, 2 or 3 per bike as there was always the banana seat for 2, handle bars & sissy bar for pulling the one on skates (or the one with 1 skate)lol we made due, we made life long friends but most of all we made the best memories, the innocent childhood memories when a month seemed like years to us now a year ago seems like a month ago...took my neice around the neighborhood a few weeks ago to show her where her mommie grew up. Of course it is not the same but thru my memories I think she enjoyed the visit & had a few laughs about some of the things we did. I had to explain to the residents of my childhood home why I was stopped in the street in front of their house...once I told them it was once my home & I named a neighbor that they knew & said she is 1 of my lifelong friends since we were was all ok.

I will always cherish my years growing up in Pacoima (which they now call that part Arleta) more places I remember Chicken Shack, ShoeString, Fish Bowl, Jessup Dairy, Dales market, The tunnel & not far away Santa & Reindeer on Van Nuys Blvd in Panorama City still have those photos from over the yrs. Tiny Naylors restaurant, Chi Chi's Pizza, Walk in Theater, the Osmonds home, saw Donny Osmond (we were teens then) & his dad dropping mom off at hairdresser on Woodman & Osborne ok enough...wonder why we can accomplish & progress so much in other ways & not be able to provide the simplest things in life for our young ones. They will never know childhood as we did. Then again... we will never know childhood as they do.

Life & Times

— Dean'a
May 8, 2010 at 11:55 p.m.

Pacoima pacas pactown whatever you want to call it pacoima is a ghetto no matter what people say there is at least 17 gangs and none of the gangs get along with each other thay all claim pacoima pacas but they kill each other (stupid hah) there is also black gangs pirus bloods but the most dangereous and active gangs are the van nuys boyz the project boyz vaughn street. pierce boyz, pacas 13 and latin times the rest of the gangs are small wanna bees

— jay
May 3, 2010 at 10:41 p.m.

i grew up in the van nuys pierce apts which was nickname the vietnamz because of daily shootings from 1978 - 2000

i saw at least 10 killings before i turned 13 years old then i joined one of the 3 gangs in the complex not by choice but was forced to i lost 20 friends to everthing from overdose, to murders, suicides, killed by lapd also i have @ least 20 homies doing life and a few on death row so i hate this place i call hell. parents get your family out of pacoima !!!!!

— jr
May 3, 2010 at 10:32 p.m.

I grew up in Pacoima from the 60's -80's.. Went to Filmore MacClay Jr Hi & Kennedy High (Granada Hills). Life and times were good. If you want to stroll down memory lane & know what being a community meant and what it was like growing up in Pacoima "back in the day" go to Facebook & check out "Pacoima Peeps" It has changed but it was where I got my start in life and I'm grateful. It helped shape me to become the person that I am today. I cherish family values and good friends!!

— Baisah
April 24, 2010 at 4:21 p.m.

My family moved to Pacoima in January 1959. My parents still live in the same house they bought then.

My siblings and I all attended Sharp Ave., Pacoima Jr. and San Fernando Sr. Schools. We grew up in the Laurel Canyon and Van Nuys Blvd. neighborhood. The 5 Freeway made our block into a cul-de-sac.

I remember as an elementary school aged child walking at night to the Community Market (now La Placita) to buy milk, 2 cartons for a dollar. Or we walked an extra block to Safeway. We shopped for our candy and soda at the Liquor Store, the Pharmacy for medicine and the news stand for the newest Archie or DC comic book.

Every Sunday morning we were at Mary Immaculate Church. We attended catechism at MI and made our Communions and Confirmations there.

My brother and I walked to the Pacoima Library. With our friends we walked to Paxton Pool to go swimming. The best "fast food" was at Garcia's or the Shoe String for Chili Dogs.

If Mom had more shopping it was down Laurel to White Front or a bus ride to Panorama or San Fernando Mall.

As young kids we played outside during the summer until 11 pm. Kick the can, hide and seek, baseball, kick ball, dodge ball, rode our skate boards or bikes.

While I was in high school in the '70's, I recall reading an article in the paper about gang activity in LA County. Pacoima had the distinction of having one of the highest rates of gang activity.

I thought they were mistaking all the car clubs cruising the high school as gangs. I guess if you don't look for it you don't notice it.

Even though I moved out of Pacoima once I was married, I brought my children to my parents home every day. They spent their first years in Pacoima and even consider it their home town.

Realistically, I know Pacoima is not what it once was. It has a lot of gang problems, violence, shootings, drug activity, police helicopters chasing stolen vehicles, robberies, break ins, loud and obnoxious late night parties, roosters crowing at 2 in the name it, its got it. But as I come back to Pacoima several times a year to visit my parents I also see improvements. The new shopping amenities, better streets, revitalized neighborhoods, new buildings, cleaned up parks etc. It has a long way to go but it is making progress.

When I do come home to Pacoima I wave to the neighbors who live across the street. They have been there longer than my parents. Next door to them is another long time neighbor family. The couple 2 doors down are also original to the block. Next door is a younger relative who inherited the home from his parents. He is raising his young family there. I know I can count on any of these kind people to watch out for my parents welfare.

I love this place, these people. They are part of me and who I am today. Pacoima will always be HOME.

As Katrina stated in an earlier post, "you can take the girl out of Pacoima, but you can't take Pacoima out of the girl".

— Gloria Vargas
April 5, 2010 at 11:36 p.m.

I have liven in Pacoima since 1990, when my parents broughts my siblings and me from Mexico. I spent my childhood on Gager street and my teenage years on Goleta street. Growing up there was an amazing expereince. I spent some of the best years of my life in Pacoima Middle School! When I left Pacoima to go to college, and to law school in another state I learned to truly appreciate Pacoima. I realized that although Pacoima is not the most beautiful city in the world, it is my home and a major part of who I am. There is nothing like walking on the Hansen Dam trails on a clear Sunday morning and seing the sun come out behind the mountains on the west and the beautiful view of the Valley on the east! Despite its bad reputation, as long as you respect your neighbors you can live peacefully there. Pacoima really deserves to be improved as a city, and although it has improved much, we should not stop supporting its beutification.

— Adri
March 9, 2010 at 10:05 p.m.

I moved to Pacoima from Boyle Heights in 1991 to what the LA Times called "The Jewel of Pacoima", the Glenoaks Townhomes just east of Van Nuys Blvd. I LOVE IT!!

The diverse area brings me to meet all sorts of people with African Americans , Japanese Americans, whites and mostly hispanic populations greeting me at stores and shops in the area.

Since I work in Burbank the commute is always quick and I love getting the same quality of mexican food in Pacoima that I did in Boyle Heights. There is also great soul food in this area too!

The area is getting better every year as I've lived here with the improvements to Hansen Dam Rec. Center and also with Costco, Best Buy & Lowes just around the corner all opening soon.

And as a golfer I like Hansen Dam Golf Course which is just two blocks from my home. So this area to me is just great and I'm proud to call Pacoima home!

— Michael Villegas
February 18, 2010 at 5:31 p.m.

I lived in Pacoima for most of my life. I remember growing up in the late 80's and 90's playing hide in seek in the neighborhood, riding our bikes late at night, and just hanging around with neighborhood kids outside without a problem. Unfortunately, not too many kids now that those same options. I remember trick-o-treating on Halloween when I was a kid and the streets being filled with people and homes running out of candy. Now, you're lucky if you get ten kids to knock on you're door and those kids who are trick-o-treating have a parent with them, something we really didnt have to worry about. Pacoima will always be my home town, even though I no longer live there. As long as you mind your business and get a long with your neighbors, you should have nothing to fear. Luckly in over the 30 years that my parents have live in Pacoima, they have never had any problems or issues. For a while Pacoima was just starting to go downhill, but in recent years they have cleaned it up and are building new stores, such as Lowes, Best Buy, and Costco, which is great for the community. I will always remember my elementary and jr high, Pacoima Elem, and Pacoima Middle School. Good times!!

— Adri
February 12, 2010 at 10:43 a.m.

My family moved from L.A to Pacoima in 1956.We lived on Weidner St. between Glenoaks and Borden. Pacoima was a nice place to grow up in. Back then the area was black. I lived 3 doors down from Andre Crouch. He would come to our house on Sunday morning to make us go to his fathers church. I remember Van Nuys Blvd as "the block". My father didn't want us on the block, but I had to be there,that's were Joe's Swing Shop was.I had friends that lived in the PJ's.Went to Maclay Jr. High and San Fernando High. I loved Pacoima then .In 1995 or 6 we sold our parents home due to thier passing and I haven't been back.

— Annette Dones
February 6, 2010 at 5:25 p.m.

My mother lived in Pacoima her whole life. My father has lived there for over 46 years. I lived there for 19 years before I joined the Air Force and got stationed in Boise, Idaho. When I was living in Pacoima, I couldn't wait to leave. The world was bigger than Pacoima and LA. My dream of traveling the world was short lived as it got me as far as Idaho, but as I age and I have children of my own, I have realized that Pacoima has contributed to the shaping of who I am today. I am a real person who was humbled by a low-middle class lifestyle and blessed with a tight family community. Gang violence hardened me around the edges but gave me an intellectual perspective no small town kid could ever comprehend (or handle). I will probably not return to Pacoima, but it's not because I am scared. I come home every year to get my Pacas fix :) I will be hood until I die because Pacoima has embedded a trait into my DNA make-up. "You can take the girl out of Pacoima, but you can't take Pacoima out of the girl."

— Katrina
January 24, 2010 at 1:04 p.m.

I was born and raised in Pacoima and still living in Pacoima. I have heard many people say that Pacoima is unsafe and that we have too many gang members. I say keep your nose clean and theres nothing to fear. I have many fun and happy memories. Remember the cow farm on Laurel Cyn? and how bout White Front, now Target? Pacoima has cleaned up a bit. Buildings are being remodeled and new stores are coming up!! Yes you'll always run into bad people but then again... bad people are everywhere!! I remember we used to leave our windows open during the hot summer nights in the 60's early 70s and there was nothing to fear. We would play hide and go seek at night and we wouldn't be afraid. Now things are a little different. Because of the economy and the status the world is in, people tend to lose their minds and do crazy things out there. But this happens anywhere que no?

— paty
January 14, 2010 at 5:21 p.m.

LOL Richard...kudos to you for holding your own against those trouble makers...must have been a totally different world back in '46. I grew up there in the '90s as a teen, and though am of Mexican descent, had a few run-ins with them as well. Punks are punks, and they'll pick on anyone.

I love those old timer stories about settling things with fist fights instead of guns, like the cowards of today.

Didn't like Pacoima, and was glad to leave, though it has been changing for the better, it seems...still would not go back though. The west valley is much nicer.

— Ex-resident
January 9, 2010 at 10:43 p.m.

Moved to Pacoima in 2001 and have lived there since (first on Filmore and now on Dronfield). I guess I am lucky to live in a pocket of niceness, given all the other reports of violence and gangs, but it also depends on how you relate to your neighbors and how you present yourself. Never had a problem, even when I left my house door open by accident once. Had each and every one of my three cars broken into when I lived in supposedly "safer' West L.A. but never a problem in Pacoima. Yes, there are the loud parties late in the summer and the "paisas" with their banda music cranking out of their 1980 Taurus (with $3,000 worth of DVD screens inside and 22" rims) but it's a nice place if you "live and let live". It is getting nicer, so much so we're getting a Costco soon (next to the recently opened Lowe's). I am looking forward to our first Starbucks or Coffee Bean one of these days!

— Jose Byron Gonzalez
December 30, 2009 at 4:55 p.m.

My parents brought me home from the hospital to Pacoima where I lived until I graduated from High School...The portion we lived in was predominantly African American [the Joe Louis track]...from the top of Foothill on the eastside to the railroad tracks down by the Gomez grocery on the westside to Hansen Dam and Osborne Street on the south and the Pacoima Wash on the North side...I loved every bit of my time there, going to Pacoima Elem., Maclay JH then sneaking off to Kennedy for the sake of integration... What made it nice was the community very middle class back then with alot of businesses owned by the people in the neighborhood Joes' Record Shop, The Chicken Shack, Pete's Barber Shop, the Drugstore owned by the Meltons and Dr Down's for your pets to name a few...for the most part everybody got along and us kids used our fists to settle a score not a gun...While there were many downsides like not wanting to admit to anyone outside your neighborhood that you lived there, but looking back I had a great time and have many lasting relationships with friends from my childhood to this day...Thanks to FACEBOOK we're even reconnecting!!

— JayCee
November 12, 2009 at 10:48 p.m.

i livd in pacas for a quite long time. PACOIMA violance has not changed during the past few years it has even increased as time goes by.

i live in the eastside of pacoima by van nuys and glenoaks and belive me the streets are tough and the women are beautiful.

— erick
November 9, 2009 at 8:55 p.m.

My family moved to Pacoima in 1946 when I was 7 yrs old. I left Pacoima in 1957 to join the USMC. My father built our house himself on Filmore St between Haddon and cost $3,500 including the lot. All of the streets were unpaved except the major thoroughfares. As kids we never wore shoes in the summer and had to hop from one shade spot to another. "Horny toads", snakes and those nasty red ants were abundant. I remember walking to the hot dog stand (shaped like an orange) at San Fernando Rd & Filmore. With a quarter I could buy a hot dog and a coke and receive change. I got my hair cut at Little Joe's S.F. Rd at Van Nuys Blvd. I started high school at the old S.F. High (grades 7-12) and it was not easy being a white boy. I walked to school cutting through a large orange grove and then into the wash to the railroad tracks passing by that old stone restaurant. I was constantly on alert for an ambush by the Mexican kids that terrorized the white kids at S.F. High School. Being too proud to back down I literally had to fight my way through high school, but I never saw a knife or a gun and I was never seriously injured. I have a lot of great memories of my childhood in Pacoima.

— Richard
November 6, 2009 at 12:50 p.m.

I lived in Pacoima during the early 60's when it was a quiet suburb. Being a white minority, I had some trouble in jr high and high school- but nothing deadly. After I left the Navy, I bought a house on Goleta St, not too far from where I lived with my parents. Most everyone in the neighborhood got to know each other and it was a friendly bunch most of the time.

By the late 70's, gunshots, helicopters and police sirens were the norm all night, but daytime was ok. After a few incidents that my young daughter suffered in school, we left and never returned. I wonder what it's like to live there now? si habla espanol

— timm
November 3, 2009 at 9:11 a.m.


October 19, 2009 at 12:53 p.m.

I moved to Pacoima in 2003, from Burbank

I like living here. When my parents came here from 48 they lived

here in Pacoima, it was different then. I like Pacoima

better. There are more Latino's here

its more like home.

— Richard Camero
September 3, 2009 at 7:40 p.m.

I lived in Pacoima from 1963-1988 I enjoyed summer nights watching all the original low riders cruise up down Van Nuys Blvd on to Laurel Canyon Blvd where I lived up to mission Blvd then they'd cruise into San Ferando Mall back all the way around. Yeah it was loud but we where home by 10:00 PM

"Parent's do you know where your children are ?" Fight's maybe but clean fist fights. Violence has increased and maybe Parent's you dont know where your children are. what happened to Community Block parties and helping neighbors? Pacoima I'll come back home anytime!Community is what you make it What have you done for your community lately? how involved are you in making improvement's, and helping the little old lady next door ? has your husband or son mowed her lawn or pulled out her trash? Or have you added more trash beer bottles, etc. into her property?

— Vickie
September 3, 2009 at 3:09 p.m.

i lived here pacoima for over twenty five years....and traveled all over usa...running springs is the meaning for this city...true there a few bad apples ? but tell me what ??? town does not suffer from these type of problems??? f.b.

— fernando b.
August 27, 2009 at 7:37 a.m.

Pacoima is great!! I grew up their love it and have worked to improve it. The community has come to stand up for itself, through Esther Villa, eva, Odelia and many other mothers and fathers who know Pacoima is an original that has meaning "Running Springs".........come and visit we're only getting better.

— Steven M
August 25, 2009 at 7:20 p.m.

I lived in Pacoima in 1994-1997,thinking it would be a nice place to live, out of the way and quiet, I thought. I experienced racial biasness and a poor quality of service in the grocery stores, fast food restaurants and the police. I did not enjoy living there because gangs and death was always to close to where I lived and I thought it to be shameful and an embarassment for people to live so close to one another and act like aminals and be judgemental. I moved away and do not plan on ever going back...

— voni watts
August 24, 2009 at 8:20 p.m.

I grew up in Pacoima in the 50's. I lived on O'Melveny and went to Haddon Ave. school, and Pacoima Jr. High in 7th grade. I am white and had no problems. Loved watching Richie Valens who lived on Remington (?) practice in his garage. Great music shop on Van Nuys Blvd. where my friends and I bought our records. We walked everywhere! Good Times!!

— arnette mccamy
August 23, 2009 at 10:27 a.m.

Pac-town is a a place you dont want to go to if your an out of from there so am used to it and like it....its Home!!!

— lil rog
August 22, 2009 at 8:19 p.m.

Gangbangin by day...gun shots at night. It's bout all u need to know bout pacoima. I lived there for years...its a terrible place to grow up in especially if you are white.

— Champo
August 20, 2009 at 11 a.m.

I lived on Daventry from 1955-1970. It was a quiet neighborhood back then. I heard it is pretty violent now. I visited my sis. in Garden Grove in middle 80's. and she forbade me to go back to Pacoima because it was to bad.

Hope it has cleaned up the violence.

— Patricia Herndon
August 19, 2009 at 7:16 a.m.

To me, it's a friendly neighborhood. I've been there a month, and 4 neighbors have taken the trouble to get to know me. They have all lived there for a long time - from 18 to 40 years. They look out for each other. I have already been asked if I would be interested in joining 2 others to help out an elderly lady down the street who's having trouble watering and pruning. I'm going to like it here.

— Valerie Thornton
August 17, 2009 at 8:57 p.m.

Another outpost of Mexico

— Obbop
August 16, 2009 at 1:28 a.m.

Born and raised in the 80s, the residential streets have gotten dimmer and the neighborhood street parking is surrounded by monstrous trucks. People need to keep their dogs within their property line. During the day it is pretty quiet and peaceful. Just the occasional ruckus where the helicopters, police sirens and festive music compete the night time scene. At least we have the view from Hansen Dam.

— Michelle S
August 13, 2009 at 4:28 p.m.

I was born in Pacoima in 1966, just want to know how Pacoima has changed.

— manuel correa
July 29, 2009 at 4:28 p.m.


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Pacoima is one of the 272 neighborhoods in Mapping L.A., The Times’ resource for crime, neighborhoods, demographics and schools.
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