LOS ANGELES, May 27, 2020 (AFP) - Authorities in Los Angeles have warned residents of the city's Hollywood Hills neighborhood to tone down their house parties which have become a major problem during the global coronavirus pandemic.
The issue has become so bad that police and the prosecutor's office released a video on Tuesday warning that action will be taken to deal with the large gatherings, which are prohibited under the city's Safer at Home orders issued in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak.
The three officers who spoke in the video said the parties have become "a major concern" because of loud music, "loud screaming voices ... at 3 a.m." and traffic congestion in narrow streets.
"Public intoxication as well as urination is also an issue that we've seen," one officer says in the video. "If you can avoid these situations, you can avoid a visit from your local police agency in the middle of the night."
Another police officer urged residents in the swanky hillside neighborhood -- where many luxury estates are used for short-term rentals -- to call police in the event the partying continues and to take photos and videos to share with authorities.
"If police are called to a location of a party, there will be consequences," warned Ethan Weaver, prosecutor for the Hollywood division of the city attorney's office.
He said homeowners can receive a citation or face criminal prosecution which can land them in jail for up to six months, even if they are not present.
Hollywood Station Captain Steve Lurie told the Los Angeles Times that last week they received 49 calls about parties, 15 to 20 percent more than normal for a holiday weekend.
"It is taking up a lot of officers' time," Lurie said.
Police said that one of the largest parties took place May 16 when officers responding to a complaint found 100 people partying at a short-term rental apparently reserved for the occasion.
While there, officers heard a gunshot and found one of the party goers with a self-inflicted wound to his groin area, police said.
Los Angeles's stay-at-home order was issued in March as the pandemic spread throughout the United States.
The city in the last week has started easing restrictions on businesses and outdoor activities, but restaurants and bars remain shut for now.
The Hollywood Hills neighborhood which is home to celebrities and young millionaires has been a constant trouble spot in recent years.
In February, local authorities banned exotic animals from being brought to house parties in the area -- as well as in the rest of the city -- for entertainment purposes following numerous complaints by neighbors about noise and massive crowds.