Public Safety Success Stories: Improving Communities with Communication and Perseverance
May 14, 2023
Constanza Trebilcock

The United States Census Bureau estimates there are 19 million abandoned or vacant properties across the country. Though these properties can present opportunities for development, many fall into disrepair or suffer from misuse. For one community in Los Angeles, a privately-owned, abandoned hospital became a hub for crime over the course of several years.

The surrounding community members reported issues with vandalism, drug use, and repeated break-ins from individuals living in the abandoned hospital. A nearby ALTO Alliance member store also dealt with break-ins, with suspects crossing from the hospital’s roof to the roof of the store.

Fire hazards were also reported as individuals attempted to secure electricity access.

The store attempted to manage this issue with regular police reports at the time of each incident; however, as more individuals moved into the building, incidents became more frequent and severe. Resource shortages in the local police precinct prevented regular monitoring of the area, which could act as a deterrent.

Throughout this period and despite orders from local officials, the owner of the property failed to secure it. This is where The ALTO Alliance stepped in.

The ALTO Alliance Effect

Ensuring that this property was effectively managed and secured required consistent communication with law enforcement, the prosecutor’s office, and the retailer’s real estate team. The ALTO Alliance acted as the bridge between these organizations, and did the legwork behind the scenes to build the most effective strategy.

The Alliance team uncovered an ongoing civil lawsuit from the city’s attorney against the hospital owners, which enabled them to bring the issue back into the courtroom. Alliance attorneys acted as the retailer’s advocate during negotiations, and secured sanctions against the owner of the property through a civil hearing. ALTO also remained vigilant when these orders weren’t met, and filed additional motions to have the structure deemed a nuisance.

Through this action, the building was required to be demolished and incidents of crime dramatically decreased. During this time, ALTO assisted with the coordination of community groups to ensure individuals living in the building were aware of resources to help them find shelter.

Are you dealing with a public safety issue that requires consistent follow-up and skilled negotiators? The ALTO Alliance can help. Contact us to learn more.