Montebello : Street Closure Aimed to Discourage Cruisers

The Montebello Police Department will continue to close a busy section of Whittier Boulevard this weekend in an effort to stem a recent surge of cruisers along the major commercial thoroughfare, police officials said.

The cruisers, who unexplainably began appearing in large numbers in January, have been responsible for numerous traffic jams and at least one gang-related shooting, Capt. Michael Kight said.

For the past five weekends, the Police Department has assigned eight officers to close a strip of the boulevard from Bluff Road to Maple Avenue during evening hours. All weekend traffic is rerouted along residential streets during closures, Kight said.

"These people come here for one reason--girls," Kight said. "It's a party atmosphere. They come out here to look for girls and show off their cars. Some of them look for trouble."

City spokeswoman Joan Caterino said that since the late 1970s Whittier Boulevard has been a favorite spot for cruisers. The problem was exacerbated in 1979 by an article in Low Rider Magazine, in which Montebello was was named "the place to be on Sunday."

"It's a recurring problem we have," Caterino said. After a high-profile effort by police, Caterino said, the cruisers are normally discouraged from using the strip as a pick-up area. City officials do not know what prompted the resurgence of cruisers.

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