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6 More Guards on ‘Ghost Town’ Duty

Six additional security guards have been deployed to protect a North Hills “ghost town,” a cluster of apartment buildings left vacant by quake damage.

L.A. City Councilman Richard Alarcon had the unarmed guards assigned to the area east of the San Diego Freeway between Roscoe and Nordhoff boulevards late last week in response to security concerns raised by a local citizens group.

Two guards were previously on duty at the site.

The North Hills Task Force had complained that drug dealers, prostitutes and squatters were undeterred by the two unarmed security guards assigned there since shortly after the Jan. 17 Northridge earthquake.

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Adding the extra guards is a stopgap measure designed to improve security while the city studies the possibility of arming the guards and assigning more police to the area.

Alarcon has asked Los Angeles Police Chief Willie L. Williams to take an official position by Sept. 13 on using federal disaster relief funds to hire armed guards.

The guards are currently unarmed because local police officials have warned that hiring guards with guns could lead to violent confrontations and subsequent lawsuits against the city.


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