The National Guard will be stationed Wednesday at the Westfield Culver City Mall, which police say has been been targeted by potential looters in recent nights.
At 1 p.m., 25 National Guard servicemembers will provide security to the mall, which has been an apparent target for would-be vandals and thieves, with up to 100 cars circling the shopping center each of the past several evenings, according to Culver City’s City Manager John Nachbar.
The entire Culver City Police Department has been deployed all day, every day to prevent looting in the city — half the force in the morning, the other half at night — but have made no arrests and written no citations for curfew violations, Nachbar said.
He said police have been successful in fighting off criminal attempts, using buses to block mall parking lot entrances, among other tactics. He said officers have been involved in multiple vehicle chases throughout the city.
Ten retail stores have been burglarized since the police protests began last week, resulting in significant damage and loss of property, Nachbar said.
In addition to the mall, he said specific threats have also been made to other stores in Culver City, including a second Target store that is not in the mall. Those threats have been detected on social media, by law enforcement intelligence, residents, neighboring law enforcement agencies and mall management, he said.
The duration of the National Guard deployment will depend on the mall’s security situation, but is currently set to expire early Thursday morning. After that, their presence will depend on the day-to-day evaluation of the security situation, according to Nachbar.
Safeguarding the mall has been a “significant drain on CCPD resources,” Nachbar said, adding that additional resources from the National Guard provide police the opportunity to tend to other responsibilities, “such as calls for service, safeguarding other businesses in the city, attending demonstrations in the city and region, policing the city, and providing mutual aid requests in the region.”
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