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During the 1990s and into the early 2000's, sections of Hollywood were more well-known for easy access to drugs than for clubs, bars, and music scenes. And while the neighborhood's recent renaissance into a lively nightlife scene has been a welcome sight for locals, it's also made visitors and patrons targets of crime both petty and serious.
With the former "nightlife wasteland" now booming with both business and crime, police are now trying to curb the criminal elements feeding off of Hollywood's revived nightlife.
Where some see a bustling sidewalk or club entrance, criminals see opportunity. Inebriated partiers make for easy targets on their way home, when spirits are up and guards are down. "The robberies are traditionally related to nightlife culture," Los Angeles Police Department Hollywood Division Capt. Cory Palka told LA Weekly. "It brings out more pedestrians and gives robbers with pistols and bodily force opportunity. We know who the suspects are."
Although assaults in Hollywood are down nine percent since last year, they're still up almost 39 percent from two years ago. Robberies are up 26 percent over last year and Palka said the number of robberies in Hollywood totaled over 500 in 2016.
In response, the LAPD has been increasing its street presence and cracking down on revelry-related crimes like drinking outside clubs and bars operating after hours. It's not surprising that a majority of crime occurs around or after closing time, and the focus from law enforcement will fall on both proprietors and patrons.
LAPD Capt. Peter Zarcone told the Los Angeles Times that intoxicated partygoers are responsible for many of Hollywood's recent violent episodes, but City Councilman Mitch O'Farrell has also warned club owners and operators that city officials would be cracking down on businesses that violate operating permits. "Hollywood must be a neighborhood that is safe, clean and hospitable to its residents," O'Farrell said.
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