City officials in Los Angeles are working to reclaim the world-famous 2-mile boardwalk in Venice Beach that has been commandeered by hundreds of homeless people, but efforts appear to be doomed as thousands more are living on streets within walking distance.
As the boardwalk is cleared of trash, hazardous waste, and tents, the homeless are simply moving their living quarters onto the sand, across the street, or elsewhere in this 3-square mile community of prime real estate, said Ira Koslow, the president of the Venice Neighborhood Council’s Board of Directors.
There are empty spaces now, but if you go to the north part, that’s now doubled and jammed, he said. They moved from one end to the other, and there’s no repercussions.
After years of resident and business complaints regarding crime, fires, and feces, Los Angeles City Councilman Mike Bonin finally announced a cleanup one week after being served with recall papers. He said 200 homeless would be rehoused.
FILE – In this June 8, 2021, file photo, a jogger walks past a homeless encampment in the Venice Beach section of Los Angeles. Los Angeles City Council is poised to clamp down on homeless encampments, making it illegal to pitch tents on some sidewalks, beneath overpasses and near parks. The measure being considered Thursday, July 1, 2021, is billed as a humane way to get people off streets and restore access to public spaces. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez, File) Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP
Messages to Bonin’s office were not returned.
For us, the 200 is a drop the bucket. That’s kind of a joke, and he’s trying to save face now after getting recall papers, said Neighborhood Councilmember Soledad Ursua. He only did this after [Los Angeles County] Sheriff Villanueva came out here to help us.
Alex Villanueva has been a frequent critic of Los Angeles city and county lawmakers who have enacted regulations detrimental to controlling skyrocketing homeless and crime epidemics. Although the Los Angeles Police Department is tasked with policing Venice, state law allows the sheriff to keep the peace anywhere in the county.
Villanueva toured Venice in early June and assigned deputies to patrol the area before Bonin stepped in to announce the cleanup.
The added police presence was probably the reason for a slight decrease in crime compared to a few months ago, although the area is still violent. Robberies are up 150%, burglaries are up 93%, and violent crime is up 64% from 2020, according to LAPD statistics.
Vicious attacks continue on a regular basis, turning into viral videos. Last month, a 70-year-old man was punched by a suspected homeless resident and knocked unconscious, receiving head injuries.
Other homeless operate chop shops for stolen bicycles or have open flames that have resulted in fires that burned down several buildings.
The Fire Department told us that we have to allow flames for them to cook. A guy brought out his big giant barbecue, and he was running a restaurant on the beach and stinking up our block, Koslow said.
Many of the homeless come from other cities because they like living at the beach and do not want the restrictions on drugs and alcohol imposed by shelters. Los Angeles made national news in March for clearing a homeless encampment at Echo Park, and many of those people now live in Venice, Koslow said.