Raves attract crime. That much is clear. So do football games, rock concerts and even some family fairs. But at last summer's Electric Daisy Carnival at the Los Angeles Coliseum, about 60 drug-related arrests were made, and more than 200 medical emergencies were reported.
In response, an extra 200 officers have been deployed to two recent raves at the nearby Sports Arena. So who's paying? You are.
"We're hoping if we showed a much larger presence with uniformed and non-uniformed officers, that we would discourage some of the blatant drug use," LAPD Deputy Chief Patrick Gannon tells the Weekly.
Gannon, in charge of the department's South Bureau, says maybe the events' promoters should pay, since they're the ones raking in the dough and attracting the ecstasy users to these publicly run venues.
"When I do that, rather than penalize the communities,the promoters should make some consideration," he said.
Promoters already foot the bill for some off-duty cops who patrol the inside of the venues, but all the outside policing is done on your dime.
In any case, Gannon says, the department has an obligation to police the parties and keep the public safe.
How much are 200 extra cops worth?
By our rough calculations, using the $2.8 million it cost the city to deploy 3,200 officers to the Michael Jackson Memorial concert in June, 2009, about $400,000. Correction: City senior administrative analyst Matthew Crawford helped us with the numbers here. He noted that the Memorial deployment involved expensive overtime. For a normal, 10-hour shift of 200 extra, average-paid officers at a Sports Arena or Coliseum event, it would cost taxpayers about $92,000, he said.
Using his numbers, the total 450-officer, one-shift deployment for such a rave would cost taxpayers more than $208,000.
That's a lot of dough for a city so strapped that it cannot afford more police overtime, has closed libraries on Mondays and seems to have increased the number of traffic tickets it doles out.
City Councilman Bernard Parks, who sits on the Coliseum Commission that decided to allow raves to go on at the Coliseum and Sports Arena, says the deployment is overkill.
"The fact that they [LAPD] have chosen to over deploy is on their dime not the dime of the promoter," he told county Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky's news blog.
"I respect Bernard Parks a lot because he was our chief and few know the LAPD inside and out like him," Gannon responds. "But I have a good handle on policing events in and around the Coliseum."
The deployment numbers for the recent raves actually amount to 450 cops, with 250 being the old, baseline, and the extra badges being sent in response to problems at June's Electric Daisy Carnival.
For comparison, a sold-out USC football game, with slightly less than 100,000 people attending at the Coliseum, LAPD deployment is set at about 125, Gannon said.
Total cops for the nearby 77th Division, one of the city's toughest, is about 425 sworn personnel. So, as Gannon puts it, he's placing nearly a third of his total South Bureau officers at raves on those nights when they happen at the Coliseum or Sports Arena.
Referring to the ecstasy-related death of 15-year-old Sasha Rodriguez following her attendance of Electric Daisy, Gannon said, "nobody wants to see anybody die at these types of events."
The next party? Together As One, New Year's Eve at the Sports Arena.
Gannon says he's already gearing up.
Added: By the way, a conservative estimate of EDC's June party revenues follows:
Using the 160,000 people the LAPD estimated attended over two days (and not the promoter's own 185,000 claim) and multiplying half by the two-day ticket price of $132 (again, conservative, as some paid higher VIP and last-minute prices, though some did get in via free guest lists), the total comes out to more than $10.5 million.