Protests, vandalism and looting of stores prompt massive cleanup effort

Sanitations crews have removed about 400 tons of debris, and helped retailers whose businesses were damaged

Workers clean up after demonstrations at the Grove Mall (Credit: VALERIE MACON/AFP via Getty Images)
Workers clean up after demonstrations at the Grove Mall (Credit: VALERIE MACON/AFP via Getty Images)

The wave protests in Los Angeles over the last several days, and accompanying bursts of vandalism and looting of stores, have taxed the city’s sanitation department and prompted a massive cleanup effort.

The Department of Public Works removed almost 400 tons of debris from city streets between Friday and Tuesday, according to the Los Angeles Daily News. The DPW said it has utilized around 100 pieces of heavy equipment and trucks to clear trash, rocks and other items from the streets.

Staffers also helped retailers and businesses whose locations were damaged, and crews from the city’s Office of Community Beautification removed around 112,500 square feet of graffiti from nearly 2,500 locations, according to the report.

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Many of those stores had just reopened or were preparing to do so following the statewide coronavirus shutdowns. But sustained protests over the May 25 killing of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police, and the sporadic violence and vandalism that followed, represented another setback.

Some stores, particularly high-end retailers in areas like Santa Monica and Downtown L.A., have seen windows smashed and merchandise stolen. Others have locked their doors and boarded up their stores to deter looters.

Security firms in some cities including New York have experienced an uptick in calls since the protests began. In L.A., as in New York and other places, demonstrations have continued since Tuesday but have been far more peaceful. [LADN]Dennis Lynch