Frustrated by their inability to curtail the drug trade on Los Angeles’s skid row, law enforcement leaders will bar people convicted of drug offenses from returning to the area while on probation, reports the Los Angeles Times. The strategy will apply elements of gang injunctions, prostitution arrests, and “stay away” orders often used in domestic abuse cases to as many as thousands of repeat offenders who buy and sell narcotics in a part of skid row known as a drug bazaar. The effort is being led by District Attorney Steve Cooley.
Cooley said that by making the “stay away” order a condition of probation, officials hope to reduce the demand for drugs on skid row. “At some point, the situation becomes so outrageous, so intractable you have to throw lots of resources at it,” said Cooley, who added that the plan would take effect immediately. “Drug buyers and sellers caught there will know once they get caught again, they’ll go to prison or jail.” Such tactics are “an excellent way to whittle down the number of criminals in the area and make it easy to identify the people on the streets who really want and need help,” said deputy police chief Charles Beck.