Central Los Angeles : Buyers of Drugs and Sex Told to Stay Out


Los Angeles police issued a warning Thursday to buyers of dope and sex--not just dealers and street prostitutes--to stay out of the Westlake area or risk being arrested.

At a news conference at Esperenza Elementary School in the heart of the Rampart Division, officers announced a “market-based policing” plan, which they described as a preventive strategy to deter criminals from coming into the neighborhood.

Rampart has the highest homicide rate of all LAPD divisions--92 killings this year, about 25 more than the average in other divisions, according to Capt. Nick Salicos. Because many of the murders grow out of drug use, officials decided to target the customers of dealers and hookers, who come from all over the Southland.


The LAPD’s narcotics squad, which recently moved to the Rampart station, will join forces with Rampart’s anti-gang and traffic specialists in this crackdown, police said. In addition, extra undercover cops, posing as drug dealers and prostitutes, will be on the streets.

Lt. Mike Schaeffer promised that arrests will be made in a highly visible way, with black-and-white police cars rather than unmarked patrol cars, to send a message to the community and to potential buyers.

To alert the public, police started posting signs this week around a 34 block area, between 3rd and 7th streets and Alvarado Street and Union Avenue, that read: “Warning. Entering narcotics/ vice enforcement zone. Violators will be prosecuted. Rampart-LAPD.”

“It dissuades buyers,” Schaeffer said. “They are the problem.”