Los Angeles City Council looks into private security to deter high-rise graffiti

The Los Angeles City Council on Tuesday, April 2 updated its policy regarding the abatement of nuisance properties to allow the hiring of private security by the city — a move prompted by ongoing efforts to secure an abandoned, graffiti-vandalized downtown L.A. high-rise.

In a 13-0 vote, council members approved technical changes to the city’s abatement process related to enforcement of building standards. Specifically, the city wants to hire private security to secure buildings that have become a “present, imminent, extreme, and immediate hazard or danger to life or limb, health and safety,” according to the city documents.

The update — which will require property owners to reimburse the city for private security costs — will need a second vote before it can be implemented.

Council members Bob Blumenfield and Katy Yaroslavsky were absent during the vote.

Several floors at each of the three unfinished buildings in downtown LA’s Oceanwide Plaza development have been tagged by graffiti artists, as seen Friday, Feb. 2, 2024. (Gene Blevins/Contributing Photographer)

Several floors at each of the three unfinished buildings in downtown LA’s Oceanwide Plaza development have been tagged by graffiti artists, as seen Friday, Feb. 2, 2024. (Gene Blevins/Contributing Photographer)

Several floors at each of the three unfinished buildings in downtown LA’s Oceanwide Plaza development have been tagged by graffiti artists, as seen Friday, Feb. 2, 2024. (Gene Blevins/Contributing Photographer)

Several floors at each of the three unfinished buildings in downtown LA’s Oceanwide Plaza development have been tagged by graffiti artists, as seen Friday, Feb. 2, 2024. (Gene Blevins/Contributing Photographer)

Several floors at each of the three unfinished buildings in downtown LA’s Oceanwide Plaza development have been tagged by graffiti artists, as seen Friday, Feb. 2, 2024. (Gene Blevins/Contributing Photographer)

Several floors at each of the three unfinished buildings in downtown LA’s Oceanwide Plaza development have been tagged by graffiti artists, as seen Friday, Feb. 2, 2024. (Gene Blevins/Contributing Photographer)

Work crews from the Quality Fence Company start putting up metal mech over chainlink fences at the Oceanwide Plaza Saturday Los Angeles CA/USA. Feb 24, 2024. Work began Friday to place fencing around the graffitied high-rise buildings target for taggers.
(Photo by Gene Blevins/Contributing Photographer)

of

Expand

Councilmember Kevin de León introduced a motion in February that called for private security at Oceanwide Plaza, an unfinished development at 1101 S. Flower Street near Crypto.com Arena. The property has been a “blight” in downtown and in the South Park neighborhood, the councilmember has said.

“There are no more free rides at the expense of the public for developers,” de León said in a statement Tuesday. “The approval of today’s ordinance aims to protect taxpayers by empowering the city to deploy private security forces on ghosted properties and cuts LAPD loose from babysitting them instead of fighting real crime in our neighborhoods.”

The project began construction in 2015, but was later halted in 2019 after funding was cut off.

The abandoned high-rise caught the attention of taggers, who spray-painted more than 25 floors, and base jumpers. De León has been leading efforts to address issues at the complex, which is located in his 14th District, covering parts of Downtown L.A. and northeast neighborhoods.

According to the councilman’s motion, the restoration of the public right-of-way to its prior condition is not possible until after abatement of the structure by cleaning, fencing and securing or barricading the building.

Council members previously approved $1.1 million to fence off the structure along 12th Street between Figueroa and Flower streets, as well as to secure the structure’s ground floors.

The councilman had also sought another $2.7 million, as a loan, to cover costs associated with security services, fire safety upgrades, graffiti removal and other measures — but it was held off until another estimate could be conducted, according to de Leon’s office.

City departments officially began fencing off and cleaning up the area on Feb. 17.

During Tuesday’s Board of Police Commissioners meeting, Interim Chief Dominic Choi said the LAPD initially had 12-hour shifts around Oceanwide Plaza to address trespassers and stop taggers. Choi said the department initially deployed one sergeant and 18 officers.

The LAPD has been able to decrease its footprint on the outside perimeter to 10 officers and one sergeant, Choi said, noting the department has five police cars covering the four corners and one driving around the building.

“We all know we’re short-staffed. We don’t have the officers to pull out a field (officer) and deploy them to this building,” Choi said. “We’re getting them back on overtime to do this, and we are continuing to work with the city family and the council office to find out when we can get private security to do this.”

Choi said that, recently, there were two attempts to breach the premises with ladders, but officers were able to stop those individuals.

“I’m comfortable securing it with 10 officers every 12 hours, but we really do need help in replacing those officers with private security to do that,” he said.

(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *