On the heels of his promise to shut off power and water for nonessential businesses that refuse to close amid California's coronavirus "safer at home" order, Democratic Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti encouraged residents to report such businesses to authorities, KCBS-TV reported.
"You know the old expression about snitches? Well, in this case snitches get rewards," a smiling Garcetti said at a Tuesday media briefing. "We want to thank you for turning folks in and making sure we are all safe."
The mayor told residents "if you've observed continued violations of the safer at home order, please continue to let us know," after which he pointed to a Los Angeles city website where violations can be reported. It isn't clear what the "rewards" entail; there's no reference to rewards on the violations website.
'Snitches Get Rewards': Garcetti Encourages Community To Report Businesses Violating Safer At Home Oyoutu.be
Garcetti said business ambassadors had visited 540 non-compliant businesses as of Tuesday afternoon, and 144 of them were visited by Los Angeles police officers to ensure compliance with the order, KCBS said. Four businesses have been referred to the city attorney's office for misdemeanor filings, the station added.
Last month, Garcetti announced the formation of the "Safer at Home" Business Ambassadors program "which deploys city workers and volunteers with the mayor's Crisis Response Team to businesses that appear to be out of compliance with the emergency order with a goal of securing voluntary compliance. If voluntary compliance is not achieved, the ambassadors will share information with the city attorney and LAPD for follow-up."
Calling nonessential businesses that don't voluntarily shut their doors "irresponsible and selfish," Garcetti last week added that "they'll wind up facing misdemeanor charge, and [the Department of Water and Power] will step in and shut off their water and power. You know who you are, you need to stop it. This is your chance to step up and shut it down — because if you don't, we will shut you down."
Garcetti said neighborhood prosecutors will implement safety measures and contact noncompliant businesses before the city flips the switches on them, KTLA-TV reported.
"The easiest way to avoid a visit is to follow the rules," the mayor added, according to the station.
According to the website of L.A. City Attorney Mike Feuer, neighborhood prosecutors are "local problem solvers who combat the most destructive community crimes like drug sales, prostitution, illegal dumping, graffiti, and more. By addressing such criminal activity before it mushrooms into more serious offenses, they are making our city safer and improving quality of life every day."
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Neighborhood Prosecutors are big parts of the communities they serve, and actually work from each of the 21 LAPD stations across the city. By being outside of City Hall and side by side with residents, Neighborhood Prosecutors are plugged-in to the unique challenges and frustrations faced, are accessible, responsive and ready to assist you.
Also on Tuesday, Garcetti said the city of Los Angeles saw an 18% increase in coronavirus cases — 215 additional cases for a total of 1,386 — and the county saw a 23% decrease in available hospital beds over the previous two days, KCBS reported.