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LA targets ticket scalpers

Fans who have tickets pass through a barricade as they arrive at the Staples Center in Los Angeles on July 7, 2009.
Fans who have tickets pass through a barricade as they arrive at the Staples Center in Los Angeles on July 7, 2009.

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Some ticket scalpers may soon be banned from peddling tickets at Los Angeles’ largest venues.

City Attorney Carmen Trutanich filed an injunction against 17 individuals on Monday, asking to bar them from selling tickets outside venues including Dodger Stadium, L.A. Memorial Coliseum, L.A. Live and the Staples Center. Prosecutors maintain the scalpers intimidate citizens, create traffic congestion and suck up scarce law enforcement resources.

“At just L.A. Live alone, the Los Angeles Police Department has spent over 1,500 hours, in the last three years, policing illegal scalping at that venue. Same thing happens at Dodger Stadium. The same thing happens at the Coliseum and the Galen Center,” Trutanich said on AirTalk. “We’re spending a lot of police resources to catch the same people, and catch and release doesn’t work. So, we need a better mousetrap in order to help us save money in law enforcement and put our resources where they’re better needed.”

If the Los Angeles Superior Court approves the suit, the individuals listed in the injunction could face up to six months in jail and/or a $2,500 fine for each offense, if he or she violates the order. According to Trutanich, the harsher punishment means more efficient policing.

“Now, you don’t have to wait and watch and see a transaction. When you’ve got 17 people who have been arrested 99 times, and they don’t live in the area of the venue, you know that when they’re at that venue, they’re there for only one reason, and that’s to sell illegal tickets,” he continued.

Trutanich said that law enforcement conducted a similar crackdown on drug dealers posing as homeless people on Skid Row and peddling drugs where people were seeking recovery. But Senior Staff Attorney Peter Bibring at ACLU said the injunction is too harsh.

“Overkill is part of the problem. What the city attorney has done is taken a very aggressive remedy, though one that’s traditionally used in anti-gang injunctions, and applied it to, basically, a petty crime. Ticket scalping under either state law or the L.A. municipal code is just a misdemeanor,” said Bibring.

Bibring added that the 17 scalpers would be completely barred from areas surrounding Dodger Stadium, the Staples Center and USC.

“[The injunction has] pretty draconian effects,” he said. “They not only couldn’t hang out outside scalping tickets, but they’d be barred from going to the restaurants around Staples Center on a Thursday morning, or going into Echo Park to visit a friend.”

Weigh In:

Should the city be able to ban ticket scalpers? How will a ban on these individuals affect the ticket brokering business in LA and how does it affect the competition amongst ticket resellers?


Carmen Trutanich, Los Angeles City Attorney
Peter Bibring, senior staff attorney at the ACLU of Southern California