Nuisance abatement suits are brought by the Los Angeles City Attorney against homeowners or commercial landlords or tenants who allegedly allow their property to be used to further criminal activity. The City of Los Angeles notoriously uses such suits along with gang injunctions and the myriad of laws criminalizing homelessness to effect and defend the progress of gentrification.1
The suits benefit the City on a number of levels. More broadly they’re a way to terrorize poor property owners by reminding them that they can be randomly targeted and forced to sell their homes. Nuisance suits also give the City a way to change the character of a neighborhood by targeting businesses that don’t suit the image being created by gentrifying developers. Most pragmatically, most cynically, the City also uses them to increase its surveillance capacities in gentrifying neighborhoods.
For instance, prior to bringing suit the City often demands that property owners install street-facing surveillance cameras and give LAPD full-time at-will access to the video feed. If you’re walking by Holiday Liquor at 4966 W. Adams, e.g., smile for the camera because LAPD is watching you! This phenomenon, among many others, is discussed in an essential recent paper by Ananya Roy, Terra Graziani, and Pamela Stephens, who note that in the infamous 2017 Chesapeake Apartments nuisance case, the City sought a number of concessions of this sort from the owner:
the establishment of extensive security systems at the property with direct access by the Los Angeles Police Department to these systems of monitoring and surveillance. … including video monitoring and electronic access control systems and private security guards.
Continue reading Three Depositions Of LAPD Officers Reveal Interesting Facts About The City Attorney’s Gentrification-Enhancing Nuisance Abatement Program — They Force Property Owners To Install Surveillance Cameras And Give LAPD Immediate Access To The Feed — E.g. Holiday Liquor At 4966 W. Adams Has Cameras That Cops Can Watch You On 24/7 Without Even Asking Anyone — And It Really Sounds Like These Cops Made Up Stories About Whatever Bad Stuff Was Happening At The Liquor Store — And Those Damn Gang Classes LAPD Teaches…