LOS ANGELES – City Attorney Mike Feuer today announced that his office has filed a nuisance abatement lawsuit against the owner of an alleged gang stronghold that spans nearly an entire city block in Watts and is known as a hub for Grape Street gang activity, rampant gunfire and drugs. The lawsuit is part of a sustained and concentrated effort by Feuer and law enforcement partners to target properties that are magnets for gangs, guns and narcotics across Los Angeles, including eight recent abatement lawsuits filed against properties in Hollywood, South Los Angeles, Venice and Del Rey.
“No one in Los Angeles should live in constant fear from gun violence and rampant crime," said Feuer. "But that's exactly what families in this neighborhood have endured. We intend to put a stop to it. Our residents deserve to be safe."
A public nuisance abatement lawsuit has been filed against the corporate owner and the property management company for Watts Arms, a 104 unit town-home-style apartment complex in Watts located at 10130 South Beach Street. Units on property span most of a square city block bounded by 103rd and Beach Streets, Century Boulevard and Wilmington Avenue. The group of apartment units is located 70 feet from Florence Griffith Joyner Elementary School, 250 feet from 102nd Street Early Education Center, a medical facility for the elderly, and theater space.
Since 2010, LAPD has made multiple arrests or conducted investigations on the property for alleged crimes involving Grape Street gang members and their associates, including shots fired at an inhabited dwelling, gun assaults resulting in wounded people and damaged vehicles, resisting arrest, possession and sale of cocaine, marijuana and prescription drugs, domestic violence and vandalism. Within the last two weeks, gunfire erupted at the property after which 19 shell casings were recovered, including rounds from an AK-47 type assault rifle.
The civil abatement action seeks an injunction restricting gang and criminal activity on the property including prohibiting all known gang members from entering or staying at the property and prohibiting criminal activity including narcotics sales. The lawsuit also seeks physical and managerial improvements to the property including: an internet-connected video monitoring system; improved lighting; secure gating and fencing; improved tenant screening and lease enforcement procedures; and armed, licensed security guards.
Since July, 2013, City Attorney Feuer’s Federal and Local Special Abatement Operations Unit has obtained more than 53 injunctions requiring comprehensive physical and managerial improvements to nuisance properties. In this same time period, the office has also successfully secured the closure of eight gang/narcotics locations and recovered $236,000 in costs and fees.
Feuer also recently established an easy-to-use online method through which residents may report properties with gang and/or narcotics activity in their neighborhoods. He's asking residents to report these properties by calling his office at (213) 978-8340 or visiting the City Attorney’s website. All reports may be made anonymously.