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Mon, May

Venice Bolsters Security After Violent Assaults; Tackles Homelessness and Crime Ahead of Summer

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THE WESTSIDE - Car vandalism, break-ins, property theft, pick-pocketing and other scams at the beach, including rampant homelessness and RV’s everywhere and out-of-control, this latest and ugly act of crime occurred Saturday when LAPD announced two incidents that took place April 6th.  

For it begs the question, just how safe is Venice? 

According to police reports made public and provided by the Venice Neighborhood Council (www.venicenc.org), one female victim was walking in the 2700 block of Strongs Drive when a suspect approached from behind and struck the victim with a blunt, unidentified object, rendering the woman unconscious. An hour later, the same suspect attacked another female victim near Sherman Canal as both sustained significant injuries. 

According to sources, one of the victims was from Massachusetts and apparently is in a coma as of this writing.

The suspect fled the scene and evidence was gathered. 

Residents of the neighborhood located the second victim and contacted LAPD. Pacific Division units responded to the scene and commenced their investigation. The suspect according to LAPD has been described as a Black or Hispanic male with medium to dark features. 

The suspect has been identified as being between 5’10” and 6’ feet tall, and weighs between 180-200 pounds. He has short hair that appeared to be trimmed around the ears. 

LAPD in this alert is asking locals to be aware of “the importance of personal safety.” 

According to the community alert LAPD will be increasing patrols in the Venice neighborhood and residents can expect an increased presence of black & white vehicles as well as uniformed officers. 

And while many believe the high number of homeless here in Venice is at the heart of the spike in overall crime, residents remain resilient despite this latest tragedy. 

According to published statistics, a crime occurs every 8 hours and 37 minutes in the 90291 Venice Zip Code.

A residential home in the 90291 Zip Code is 300% more likely to be robbed with no home security system!

According to www.crimegrade.org, Venice has a “C” grade for property crime and a “C“ for violent crime. 

With most third-party assessments of the Venice Boardwalk not an advisable place to visit after sunset and often described as “empty and dark,” and more appropriately sketchy to say the least. 

Accordingly, the “C” grade means the rate of property crime is slightly higher than the average US zip. 90291 is in the 39th percentile for safety, meaning 61% of zip codes are safer and 39% of zip codes are more dangerous.

And while no one knows if the suspect is homeless or unhoused, the amount of individuals on the street remains unacceptable, dangerous and frustrating. 

For the hard reality is that for an international tourist destination such as Venice with soaring home prices and equally spiking rentals, what strategies are being employed to ensure this revenue generating community for the rest of Los Angeles is being properly protected from the neighborhood’s current ills? 

And as Los Angeles begins the process of hosting the 2028 Summer Olympiad, will we be ready to ensure this 17-day international extravaganza goes off without incident or harm? 

And while city officials have employed CIRCLE or Crisis and Incident Response through Community-led Engagement, what has been the success rate of this pilot program to address non-urgent calls to the unhoused? 

And while every effort to diffuse the current homeless crisis should be regarded as constructive, is it safe to assume that such an assault of two female victims was in all probability a transient, or possibly a more complex incident of a precise attack against these particular women? 

For whatever the eventual outcome, Venice is in need of boots on the ground in the form of a more obvious police presence at the beach, a presence that serves as a deterrent and safety tool that discourages this kind of random violence in one of the most affluent of neighborhoods. 

For there are those who continue to pat themselves on the back and take victory laps when this most recent incident confirms more must be done so those who live here can see for themselves a significant decrease in homelessness and the RV population here in Venice. 

Moreover, when will hard data and verifiable statistics be shared with the community to confirm actual progress?

Hopefully this year’s 2024 Homeless Count conducted by LAHSA will confirm a turnaround in the conditions on the streets of Los Angeles, and especially here in Venice. 

Anyone with information on these assaults are asked to contact the Special Assault Detectives at 213-473-0447 or visit www.lacrimestoppers.org.

(Nick Antonicello is a thirty-one year resident of Venice and covers the homelessness crisis as well as issues of crime here in the neighborhood. Have a take or a tip all things Venice? Contact Antonicello via e-mail at [email protected].)

 

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