Residents of Venice Beach Are Calling for Action Over Homeless Encampments

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A homeless crisis has gotten worse in Los Angeles coastal Venice neighborhood and residents are calling for action over homeless encampments in the area that have been connected to a string of crimes.

As the whole city is grappling with a homeless crisis, residents in the coastal Venice neighborhood are asking for action over the homeless encampments that are connected to string of crimes, including fights, fires, shootings, and drug use. 

According to a January report released by the Luskin Center for History and Policy at the University of California in Los Angeles, the homeless population has increased by half over five years.

In the coastal Venice neighborhood, some of the violent crimes that are alarming residents and business owners include the shooting that happened on April 28, in which a man was shot. Another was an explosion inside an encampment on Monday that caused a fire. 

The latest of several chaotic events over the expansion of homeless encampments along the city’s famous boardwalk and elsewhere in the neighborhood famous of its beach and canals, has prompted concern from residents. 

A business owner along the Venice coastal, Kevin Buttress, said that he was attacked in November by a pit bull owned by a homeless person. He added that he was also knocked unconscious by a skateboard.

Buttress, who owns the Xquisity Barber Lounge barbershop said that he has owned his business for firve years and has been cutting hair in the area for eight years. He said, “I’ve given a lot of myself to the community of Venice Beach,” Buttress said.

He said, the suspect in his attack was arrested. However, he was released days later. , “And to see everything just fall to pieces, it’s messed up,” Buttress said. The attacker was released due to the efforts made by Los Angeles County of cutting the number of jail inmates over concerns about the spread of Coronavirus. 

According to a letter signed by hundreds of residents to city and county officials this week, nearly 200 tents have been erected on the boardwalk. 

The letter reads, “Venice’s world-famous beach and boardwalk are crippled. Local children are refusing to come to the beach because they’re frightened by what they’ve witnessed. Seniors who live on or near the boardwalk are terrified of walking in their own neighborhoods.”

Shopkeepers used to clear the few tents that would pop up in the area when they opened for business. However, with the several months of lockdowns and business closures, the encampments near the coast expanded.

Soledad Ursua, a Venice resident and a member of the Venice Neighborhood Council, told Fox News. “You make sure to get home by dusk.” She added, “There’s fights multiple times a day on the Ocean Front Walk… stabbings, shootings are happening weekly. It’s just a very dangerous time to be a Venice resident right now.”

According to the crime statistics provided by the Los Angeles Police Department to the council, violent crime robberies in the neighborhood sprang up to 177%. There is also a 162% increase in cases of assault with a deadly weapon involving a homeless person. 

Meanwhile, a video posted on social media shows tents lined up along the boardwalk, as some homeless people engage in scuffles and harassment. In another scene, someone can. be seen throwing something into a tent before it becomes engulfed with fire during an incident on May 3. Bystanders used water and sand to extinguish the blaze.