SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — The owners of a South Sacramento shopping center known for gang violence, drugs, and even homicide are coming under fire with the city.
The Sacramento City Attorney says the owners of the Evergreen Shopping Center are doing nothing to stop crime there. Now they’re being taken to court, which could lead to the entire plaza being shut down.
The City Attorney says some people in this neighborhood risk their life to shop there. But it’s also the only option for some neighbors. If the owners don’t make a change, these tenants say their days in business will be numbered.
“I would have nowhere to go, I’d have to shut down my business,” said Phi Bui, owner of Fashion Times.
He’s owned the business for more than 20 years, and now he’s worried about being shut down by the city.
“Every day I see kids grow up because we’ve been here for so long,” said Bui.
Other longtime shoppers say they’d be heartbroken to see it go.
“There’s trouble everywhere, not just here,” said Michael Cornelius.
Bui says he can’t do much about the crowds and crime. He says they take over the parking lot outside his shop, often at night.
“We are frustrated with the ownership because they’re not giving enough effort as we are,” he said.
The City Attorney sees it that way too. Susana Alcala Wood says since 2014, the Sacramento Police Department has had to act as property manager of this shopping center. For six years, they get at least one call a day related to crime. The City Attorney says during that time, they asked the owners to make changes.
“I’m talking about lighting, I’m talking about security guards who don’t sit out there and watch the fights happen,” she said.
She says they did nothing to stop the violence, calling it a free for all.
“Open drug sales, lot’s of gang activity,” she said.
But in July, she said came the final straw when a 17-year-old boy was shot and killed.
“Things got just so out of control. It was not the first shooting death we had, but it made it imperative,” she said.
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The City Attorney says they rarely file injunctions against commercial properties, this is the only case in 2020.
“We will do so when the property owner fails to respond to any efforts by the city,” she said.
For Bui, he wants to work with the city to keep his business open and wants to find ways to keep people safe shopping.
“If security and everything is here, it would make our job and the community a lot better,” said Bui.
CBS13 reached out to Lotus Investment Partners named in the lawsuit, but haven’t heard back. If the company doesn’t follow the court order, the court will either put a property receiver in place to take over or shut it down entirely.
In the months since the court order, the City Attorney says there have been continuing drug arrests.