The City of Sacramento has taken a major step forward in its ongoing efforts to protect neighbors and customers of the Evergreen Shopping Center, a property notorious for the high number of police calls it receives for dangerous and illegal activity.
A Sacramento Superior Court judge last week granted the City a preliminary injunction against the shopping center’s owner, Lotus Investment Partners. The injunction prohibits any drug or gang activity on the property and allows the City to seek penalties and potential closure if the activity continues.
“My office, along with the City Attorney’s Office, the Sacramento Police Department and the Mack Road Property and Business Improvement District, have been fighting for years to make this site safer for neighbors and patrons,” said Councilmember Larry Carr, who represents the area. “We thank Judge Brown for this ruling, which we believe will help compel the property owners to make changes that address the illegal activity occurring there.”
Since Lotus Investment Partners purchased the Evergreen Shopping Center in 2014, the property has generated more than 2,250 calls for police service, a disproportionately high number when compared to similar complexes in the area. The calls have involved narcotics, gang activity, homicide, shootings, assault with a deadly weapon, robberies and batteries.
After repeated attempts to work with the owners to make changes proved unsuccessful, the Sacramento Police Department in November 2018 opened a “Justice for Neighbors” case for the property, which is located at Mack Road and Center Parkway. SPD also performed a “Crime Prevention through Environmental Design” (CPTED) audit of the site. The 53-page report details numerous ways to improve lighting, security, signage, maintenance and surveillance on site to help prevent crimes.
The City’s lawsuit seeks to have all the CPTED recommendations implemented and notes that time is of the essence. In recent months, there have been at least two shootings at the Evergreen Shopping Center, with one in July that resulted in the death of a minor.
“We can no longer wait for another life to be taken,” said City Attorney Susana Alcala Wood. “The property owners and managers’ operation of the Evergreen Shopping Center is a public nuisance that threatens the public’s health, safety and welfare. The City will continue to push forward with its lawsuit and demand that necessary changes be made.”
Under California Code of Civil Procedure 731, a City Attorney’s Office has the authority to bring civil action for the People of the State of California to abate public nuisances.