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Hundreds of Boyle Heights Liquor Stores Get Visit From the ABC

Responding to public outcry about public safety and quality of life issues related to alcohol sales, 40 alcoholic beverage control and Los Angeles police officers conducted inspections at nearly 200 alcohol beverage selling outlets in Boyle Heights and surrounding communities last week.

A part of the special operation, businesses licensed to sell alcohol — restaurants, bars, liquor and convenience stores —underwent a close-up inspection to determine if they were complying with the conditions and regulation set when their alcohol sales license was issued. The operation was aimed at making sure that area establishments are responsible and accountable for the alcoholic beverages they sell.

Lea esta nota EN ESPAÑOLNo Hubieron Empresas Citadas en Operativo de Licencia de Alcohol en Boyle Heights [1]

More educational than punitive, the Informed Merchants Preventing Alcohol-Related Crime Tendencies (IMPACT) program inspections were a cooperative effort between the California Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC), Los Angeles Police Department, and licensees, according to a California Dept. of Alcoholic Beverage Control press release.

“The purpose of the IMPACT program is to educate our licensees. Violations were observed. Our officers pointed them out and advised the employees/licensees on how to correct them. No citations were issued,” ABC Los Angeles District Administrator Will Salao told EGP in an email.

The program helps merchants identify their weaknesses and correct their deficiencies without penalties, according to a departmet press release.

Representatives from the Boyle Heights Coalition for a Safe and Drug-Free Community, which participated in a town hall meeting on the affects of alcohol on Boyle Heights in March, and representatives from Los Angeles Councilman Jose Huizar’s office observed the IMPACT inspections on May 2, according to the press release.

In March, the Boyle Heights Coalition released preliminary findings of their then just completed alcohol-availability study. The data showed there were two felony DUIs with injuries, 349 alcohol related traffic violations, and a host of other crimes in Boyle Heights where alcohol played a factor during a six-month period in 2011. During the meeting organizers and residents discussed a moratorium on new alcohol sale licenses for off-site consumption.

In a written statement, Councilman Huizar thanked ABC and the LAPD for the inspections and said it was a critical step in the process of stepping up enforcement against problem liquor establishments, educating business owners about responsible requirements and closing legal loopholes in order to reduce the number of liquor licenses in Boyle Heights.

“We need businesses to help prevent tragedies on the roads, streets and highways,” said Salao in the press release. “They can do this by checking identifications and refusing to sell alcohol to obviously intoxicated patrons and underage youth.”

ABC is a Department of the Business, Transportation and Housing Agency.

*Editor’s note: This story was updated on May 11, 2012.