The problems with rampaging gangs in Westwood Village can be solved by implementing a few simple but painful remedies.
First, the restaurants, retail stores and video arcades must be required to close no later than 11 p.m. Second, liquor sales should be prohibited at all retail outlets. Third, curfew laws should be aggressively enforced including checking IDs at all theaters, restaurants and retail stores. Fourth, parking must be improved and, in some instances, restricted in the village.
Twenty years ago liquor sales were prohibited within one mile of the UCLA campus, there were two to three supermarkets in Westwood Village and parents could let their children go to a movie unescorted knowing they would be safe. The change did not occur overnight and the remedies will not reap benefits any time soon. City Councilman Zev Yaroslavsky must start paying more attention to the health and welfare of Westwood. The Westwood business community, including Oxy Petroleum, Castle & Cook, Bullocks and UCLA, needs to lobby the merchants and theater owners to go along with a comprehensive crime abatement plan. And residents of Westwood need to figure out what they can do to change Westwood's new and dangerous image. If Santa Monica's Third Street Promenade, the Beverly Center, Westside Pavilion and Century City can all deal with the problems, why can't Westwood do the same?