East Franklin area preferred neighborhood for clandestine parties
What happens when a city has a large population of bored teens and an ample supply of foreclosed and abandoned homes scattered around town? For many Elk Grove teens it is an opportunity to attend a 21st Century version of a roving-craps games that has locally earned the nickname "abandos."
Getting its name for the abandoned houses, most of which have been foreclosed on, where the parties are held, several Elk Grove area high school students recently described more details about these largely under-the-radar functions that use empty houses for large parties.
Not surprisingly word of the parties are spread by mass text messages with the time, address and other particulars. Typically there is an admission charge for boys and none for the girls. Last year the party information was also spread by Facebook and Twitter but according to several teens, Elk Grove Police started monitoring the social networks for information and text messaging is the preferred method of marketing these gatherings.
One teenage girl who attended an abando party that was held last Saturday night in an empty house in Elk Grove city limits near Grantline Road said there were about 100 people in attendance. The party broke up when Elk Grove Police officers arrived.
"The bigger the crowd is, the safer it is," said Tammy, whose name has been changed for this story. Tammy noted ironically that is seems the larger the party is the less likely police can make arrests.
EGPD Spokesperson Officer Christopher Trim verified that officers were dispatched to the dwelling described by Tammy near Grantline and Calvine Saturday night but that upon the officers arrival, the participants fled the area. Officer were unable to accurately say how many were there and no arrest were made.
While the teens interviewed for this story said that the "abandos" have been held all over the city, most of the parties last school year were held in the East Franklin area of Elk Grove. The East Franklin, one of the newest in Elk Grove, was particularly affected by the foreclosure crisis.
"Last year every abando was held near Franklin High," said Peter, who name was also changed for this story. Peter noted most of the parties seemed to be organized by students from Franklin and Cosumnes Oak high schools and held them in the East Franklin area "because there are lots of big abandoned houses over there."
There was reportedly one group last year calling themselves For Achieving The Ambitious Lifestyle, FATAL, that organized several parties but, according to Peter, the Elk Grove Police started to monitor their activities and now word is spread almost exclusively by text and word of mouth.
Trim verified the existence of FATAL and noted the department employs a variety of techniques to track them and gather other information about activities in the community. Specific mention of FATAL's recent activities were not noted by Trim.
According to Trim, last year the department had over 600 disturbance calls for parties. "Whether or not these calls involved an abandoned or vacant residence is something that we do not track," he noted.
Both Peter and Tammy said the parties usually last no more than a couple hours and break up when police invariably show up. The teens said it is tough for police, or party goers for that matter, to identify organizer so there are not that many arrests.
They also said there is not a typical party goer and that with the exception of "Goths," there is usually a wide cross section of high school students in attendance.