View Full Version : What to do about gang members in apmt complex?
Hi all, after this weekend, it's been confirmed that there are known Mexican gang members living in my girlfriend's apartment complex. It's a small complex, only 8 units, so I'm extremely worried that she or her family might be caught in the middle of gang violence. There are four units in a front building, 2 up, 2 down, and then an identical building about 10 feet behind it. She is in a front upper unit, while they are in a back upper unit, diagonal to her. Here's what happened over the weekend:
Around midnight on Saturday, an argument broke out at the apartment, resulting in the shooting of one of two visitors (who were possibly there to buy drugs, based on what the police told me.) My girlfriend heard the gunshot, heard the man screaming that he'd been shot, then heard the chaos that followed as they dragged the man up the driveway to an SUV, then drove off.
The police arrived literally seconds after the SUV drove off and investigated but it seems to be stalled. The victim (who possibly died yesterday) and all the witnesses aren't talking at all, of course, and everyone else in the complex is too scared to go to the police and tell what they saw/heard. They gave basic statements, describing what happened, but no one described the man they believe actually shot the visitor.
The apartment's landlord (who lives elsewhere) doesn't seem to care one bit about gang members living there, as long as they pay their extra-inflated rent. I've given the landlord's # to the officer in charge of the investigation but I'm not sure if she can force him to evict these idiots or not.
At this point I'm not sure what to do...her family cannot afford to move right now, as they're planning on moving early next year (when I'll be marrying her) to a smaller place. And I'm also extremely worried that the gang might take retribution against her or her family if all the residents try and forcefully evict them by going to the landlord as a group. In the past year, one girl had her car windows broken out after she complained about one of the gang members parking in her reserved spot, while another man had his car stolen for complaining about the loud music and late night drinking going on in the parking lot. The landlord refused to do anything about either of these issues and nothing could be directly tied to them since no one actually *saw* them do it.
Does anyone have any advice at all for a situation like this? The officer didn't seem concerned about retribution, as she said most evicted gang members simply pick up and move to another place in the area without problem. I might have left out some details accidentally so let me know if you need more info at all.
They can't afford not to move.
07-15-2004, 01:05 PM
Right! They certainly can't afford not to move. Can you help with the cost of a move? Can anyone? How about a loaner from someone. If I had family in that situation I would not wait until a bullet came flying through the sheet rock and into a loved ones skull. 9MM go through usually a couple walls before stopping. Get out and get out now.
That's my immediate reaction, to move immediately. I'm hoping we can work something out for them right away. If I had the money, I'd happily pay for their entire move, deposit, first month, etc, but I can only help a bit with it. Their apartment isn't exactly in a bad area, it's very decent, so it's just frustrating that idiots like this can move into a place and completely ruin things for everyone else. But I suppose consideration has never been a top priority for gangs in L.A. Thanks for the quick replies.
The Great Sun Jester
07-15-2004, 01:27 PM
Buy a 9mm.
Report it stolen....
the rest is up to you.
Just kidding, vacate that apartment. At all costs. How far away do you live? Wouldn't it be better to be cramped and ALIVE than to have your future ranks thinned a bit? Let's examine some priorities.
I live about 10-15 minutes away, but in a 1 BR apartment so that's not much of a help. I've been searching the ads around here for affordable apartments in better areas so hopefully we'll find something by this weekend if we're lucky.
07-15-2004, 04:30 PM
You may want to call your local tenant advocate group and get their take on the situation. I know people who have utilized their help in other cities and are quite plased with the results. These people have seen it all and been either to court, or close enough to court enough to know what works, what causes landlords to back down, etc.
If things are really that bad and that dangerous, could they move to a hotel? It's all very well to stay and be a neighborhood advocate--but it's easier to do that once you've moved a safe distance away!
07-15-2004, 05:55 PM
Well I agree that she should move, but then I know what it's like to not be able to afford to move.
Here in SoCal, you need a first and last month's rent plus security deposit in order to move into most places, no matter how slummy. So you basically need at least three months' rent saved up in order to move.
A lot of folks can't swing that, especially not on short notice.
And even then, it's difficult to ensure that you're not moving in to another situation just like the one you're moving out of...
So. In the meantime. Remind her to take cover in the bathtub when she hears gunshots.
Or build her a bunker out of sandbags in her living room.
You may think I'm joking, but I'm not.
07-15-2004, 07:26 PM
You could be a nice son-in-law and cram the whole bunch into your one bedroom. I grew up in LA and I know it happens all of the time. Then get to work on raising the cash to get them into a safer place. If everyone applied for a credit card, you/they should have the money in no time.
Whatever you do, don't do anything to provoke these gangsters, not even covertly. Just get them out.
Hope everything works out, and congratulations on your engagement.
07-15-2004, 09:42 PM
Let me add my voice with all the others talking about moving out ASAP. It's hard, expensive and a damned nuisance. And selfish - being a neighborhood advocate would actually a nice civic responsibility thing, but the impression I get is that there are children there. Get 'em out. And after you're out talk to the landlord and the tenant advocates about the fact you (okay, they) felt compelled to move for safety reasons - that may be able to get you out of the lease with minimal punitive measures.
07-15-2004, 09:49 PM
Assuming they've paid first, last, and deposit, if they give notice they would have to stay 30 days so as not to lose money. Meanwhile they could be looking for another place, and this would get the decision made.
Upon moving, they would receive the deposit back, and would have lived there a month "free" (pre-paid actually). It helps financially.
30 days is a compromise of their safety, but if money is tight enough they might want to consider it. Or give 30 days' notice and move out in two weeks (August first) and lose half-a-month.
This would be better than not giving notice, and having a further 30 days to stay-or-lose when they do find a place, or actually make the decision.
07-15-2004, 10:17 PM
I can't provide a cite, but I can recall news reports about city governments holding property owners responsible for allowing criminal activity on their properties. What are the laws in your jurisdiction, and what would you need to do to get them enforced?
By the way, when you say "landlord" do you mean the actual property owner or just a manager? If it's a just a manager, it's a least possible that the owner doesn't know what's going on at his property and would like to hear about it. Either way, does the landlord own or manage other properties? Maybe they could transfer the family to an apartment somewhere else without the additional security deposit, advance payment etc.
It's also tragic that witnesses to a killing won't help the cops. The guy gets away with a murder, probably not his first or last, and the cops start asking each other "why should we try to help people who won't help themselves?"
07-15-2004, 10:36 PM
I would move and sue for any remaining rent if the owner doesn't evict the gang members. It's not up to her to demand the eviction. It's expected of the landlord to evict someone who represents a danger to the other tenents. If you lose, you lose.
In short, RUN, don't walk away from these losers. Money and things are easy to replace, people are not. Wouldn't hurt to have the INS check on them. They might remove them for you.
Well the situation may have improved now, but it sure took a turn for the worse last night before getting better. I found out this morning that the victim's friends came by last night, fired 6 or 7 shots (into the apartment? I'm not sure yet - I'm going to call the senior lead officer today at lunch to get details), then ran off. The cops came again to investigate, broke in to the apartment when no one answered and, from what I understand, found that the gang members have possibly moved. The man living directly below the apartment finally told the cops everything that he had seen up to that point (from last weekend until last night) so hopefully that helps with any sort of criminal investigation. I hope this means that the gang is gone from the complex, never to return, which I assume means that the rival gang won't be coming back again for more shooting. What a mess - I've never been around anything like this so it's very surreal. Once these idiots are finally gone from the area, I'm hoping everything will be safe enough until next April when her family can move permanently.
I'll still be helping them look for an affordable place in the meantime, as the *safest* plan is obviously to get out of there right away.
The landlord also seems to be cooperating more, as he came by yesterday, a few hours before the shots, to talk to them but no one answered. To answer another earlier question, he's the landlord/owner/manager. He's actually been looking to sell the property so I'm sure that has a lot to do with his attitude earlier. I'm not sure of the landlord obligations in the area but I'll try and see what I can find in that regard as well.
Thanks for all the help - it's appreciated!
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