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Viral graffiti towers in LA are straining police and city resources

The Los Angeles Police Department reports that officers have dedicated a minimum of 3,000 hours to patrolling the deserted site.
An unfinished high-rise development in LA has become the target of graffiti taggers.
Posted at 5:25 PM, Feb 15, 2024

At this point, we all know that graffiti artists have tagged an incomplete luxury high-rise project in downtown Los Angeles. 

It all started in December, when local graffiti artists hit the tallest tower of the project, tagging their names on windows. On Feb. 3, a famous artist and his crew joined in, attracting even more artists to tag all the buildings. Within 24 hours, one tower was fully covered; by Feb. 6, all three of the buildings had been tagged.

Now, the Los Angeles Police Department reports that officers have dedicated a minimum of 3,000 hours to patrolling the deserted Oceanview Plaza complex site, and it’s stretching LAPD’s resources.

"This has strained our deployment," Police Chief Michel Moore told NBC4. "We have called in some officers on an overtime basis so that we can provide for these added patrols or station them at that site to deter vandals and others from gaining access to it while also ensuring that we meet the minimum deployment requirements for stations across the city.” 

The towers were intended to accommodate a hotel and luxury condos, but the project came to a halt in 2019 when the Beijing-based developer ran out of funds, according to the Los Angeles Times.

The unfinished buildings pose a significant safety risk to the public, further straining available resources.

"We need to secure it. Unfortunately, given the condition of the property, it has taken public resources, LAPD, the Bureau of Building and Safety, and others to secure that location," Moore said. 

All of this is happening because the tagging of these buildings has gone viral on social media. People are coming from other states just to take selfies with the graffiti or explore inside. More recently, a person was spotted parachuting from the top of one of the tagged buildings.

"I hate the fact that we are using city and other police resources in that manner, but we do not want to see a tragedy take place, and I guarantee you that a tragedy will take place there," said Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass.

According to NBC4, officials have attempted to contact the building owners' representatives to address the issue, but so far, they have been unsuccessful in reaching them.

Next week, the City Council will discuss a proposal to allocate $3 million for installing a new fence, clearing debris, and potentially hiring private security guards to ease the burden on the police force, NBC4 reports.