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Thursday, September 29, 2016

What crime? Echo Park club goers party on

Young women in tight jeans and high heels darted across Sunset Boulevard. Knots of bearded hipster puffed cigarettes outside of bar entrances. High school age kids from Norwalk lined up for a late night show. While a recent string of violent muggings in Echo Park and Silver Lake spreads fear among residents, many of the young club and bar patrons wandering through Echo Park last night remained unaware and unfazed about the crimes – at least for now. “I don’t think it will affect us,” said one club goer as he ran off to meet friends for a DubClub show at The Echo.

But some Echo Park Silver Lake business owners are worried about keeping the streets safe to support the area’s nightlife and their investment.

“We are concerned about it,” said Mitchell Frank, one of the owners of The Echo and who books bands at Spaceland in Silver Lake. He’s offering Echo customers escorts to their cars upon request and is ordering a doubling of patrols by a private security firm. “We want to make sure people leave in groups. Don’t go out by yourself to your car.”

Frank, who stopped by The Echo last night, was also glad to see additional police cars on the streets. “There is enough heat on LAPD where they will be out more as well.”

The mostly nighttime attacks, believed to be the work of gang members, took place near nightclubs, bars and restaurants in Silver Lake and Echo Park. All the victims were males out on their own, some of them had been at a bar or club. The LA Times’ Pop & Hiss blog warned that male showgoers “may want to consider taking a burly friend along with you.”

The drop in crime in recent years has allowed nightlife and business to flourish across the Eastside. In Echo Park, for example, the sidewalks along a few blocks of Sunset Boulevard can be busy late at night as people stroll between the live shows at The Echo and Taix and former bar Mexican dive bars, such as El Prado and the Gold Room, that have been remade as hipster hot spots. Other longtime establishments, such as Barragan’s and The Brite Spot, have also cashed in with drink specials and late night hours. Even some vintage clothing stores and flower shop can be found open late at night to rake in some extra cash.

This Eastside version of The Sunset Strip has thrived even though it has not been fun for everyone. Some residents complain about rowdy bar and show patrons while some of those very customers have also been mugged or had their cars broken into.

Anjuli, a 29-year-old rape and crises counselor, said she was mugged about four years ago after leaving The Echo. The former Echo Park resident moved to Pasadena as a result. But, on Wednesday night, she was back in Echo Park with a friend from Orange County to attend a show at the same club after having dinner at Elf.

“It’s really a shame because it’s such a great community,” said Anjuli, as she walked down Sunset Boulevard after 10 PM. “I will still come back. I’ve been in places more dangerous than Echo Park.” Of course, Anjuli noted, she served in the Army overseas.

A 40-year-old Echo Park resident named Myles, who had just finished a late night meal at the Brite Spot, displayed some of the urban bravado echoed by others out last night. “It wouldn’t keep from going out – I’m from Brooklyn. I always figure there is a threat around.”

But, just to be on the safe side, he adds: “I will be on the look out for sure. It’s just a matter of being aware of my surroundings.”

A community meeting about the assaults will be held at 6 PM today at Ivanhoe Elementary School in Silver Lake. Councilman Eric Garcetti and LAPD are also scheduled to discuss the matter in Echo Park at the 7 PM before the Echo Park Improvement Assn., which holds its meeting at Williams Hall at Barlow Hospital, 2000 Stadium Way. More crime figures in LA Now.

A community meeting about the assaults will be held at 6 PM today at Ivanhoe Elementary School in Silver Lake. Councilman Eric Garcetti and LAPD are also scheduled to discuss the matter in Echo Park at the 7 PM before the Echo Park Improvement Assn., which holds its meeting at Williams Hall at Barlow Hospital, 2000 Stadium Way. More crime figures in LA Now.



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