Two shootings and serial burglar cause concern.
By Sam Catanzaro
After two shootings occurred on Windward Ave in a span of less than a week and a serial burglar committed a series of thefts before being arrested, many in Venice have become worried about the rise of crime in the area.
“We’re ultra aware that our violent crime is up,” said Senior Lead Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) Officer Kristan Delatori at last month’s Venice Neighborhood Council (VNC) meeting. “We attest that to what I call them ‘micro-encampments’ popping up throughout that very small area.”
However, Captain James Roberts of the LAPD Pacific Division said that despite this spike in “part one” crime Venice is seeing, the larger trend shows these crimes occurring less frequently.
“For the first quarter of 2018 we had 48 violent crimes, which include homicide, rape, robbery, and assault with a deadly weapon,” Roberts told Yo! Venice. “That’s down 23 percent from the previous quarter.” According to Roberts, 46 percent of these part one crimes involved homeless individuals, as either victims, suspects or both. Captain Roberts and Officer Delatori attribute this to the numerous homeless encampments popping up throughout Venice.
Both City and law enforcement officials agree that the best response to this spike in crime is an increased police presence around the beach. Currently, the Pacific Division received 20-30 officers on loan from other LAPD stations May through September to deal with summertime crowds, but Officer Delatori said that these extra officers are needed throughout the year. “What we need is to get on a permanent basis another 20 officers. We have been talking about this for a long, long time,” she explained.
Taylor Bazley, Venice Field Deputy for Los Angeles City Councilmember Mike Bonin, explained that their office is working to address this issue in response to the recent shootings on Windward Avenue. “Obviously the police are on call anywhere, but we need to have a dedicated police force there 24/7, 365 days at the Venice Beach substation,” Bazley said. “Right now they are not there at evening times and Mike is making an issue to push for that.”
Captain Roberts for his part says that his officers will look to use preventive measures to curtail violent crime at the source in Venice.“If you deal with the small things, smoking marijuana in public, drinking in public, loud obnoxious boisterous behavior; if you deal with those things at the root then you will avoid the fights that lead to violence,” Captain Roberts said.
Roberts told Yo! Venice that while the public should not worry about violent crime, Venice residents should be wary of daytime burglaries of both houses and cars. “We see no reason for anybody to worry about violent crime. My struggle is daytime residential burglaries and auto theft,” Roberts added.
Delatori also recognized increased auto theft as a concern and told the public to use common sense when parking their vehicles. “If you are going to leave a laptop in plain view or your purse with your wallet in it, don’t bother locking your doors because they are going to break the windows,” she said.