Twenty-five members of the National Guard were deployed to the Westfield Culver City Mall on Wednesday to help protect the businesses and allow police to focus on prevention in other parts of the city, officials announced.
Following “specific threats” made to the mall, located at 6000 Sepulveda Boulevard, the National Guard began providing security around 1 p.m. and will remain through at least early Thursday, according to Culver City City Manager John Nachbar. The deployment timeline will depend on the security situation at the mall and will be assessed day-to-day.
“The current danger to the Culver City community is real,” Nachbar said in a news release. “During each of the past several evenings, there have been up to 100 cars at a time circling the Westfield Culver City Mall with persons attempting to gain access to vandalize and loot.”
Nachbar said the threats were made via social media and identified through law enforcement intelligence, neighboring law enforcement agencies, tips from community members and mall management.
Threats were also made to other retail stores in Culver City, including the two Target locations.
Deploying the National Guard to the mall will allow the Culver City Police Department to relocate resources to calls for service, safeguarding other businesses, monitoring demonstrations in the city and providing mutual aid requests in the region.
“Providing a continued presence for safeguarding the mall has been a significant drain on CCPD resources,” Nachbar added. “It is only due to the efforts of CCPD, working with other local law enforcement partners, that the Westfield Culver City Mall and additional retail locations in Culver City have not experienced the type of looting we have seen elsewhere.”
Nachbar said the entire police force has been deployed in recent days, with half of the force working during the morning hours and the other half during evening hours.
A citywide curfew is also again in effect beginning at 6 p.m. Wednesday through 6 a.m. Thursday.
“We appreciate the public’s cooperation with our curfew orders. We recognize that they are very disruptive,” Nachbar added.
Police had not made any arrests or given any citations for curfew violations, Nachbar said.