By Nick Antonicello
There are those who condone and enable homelessness here in Venice by claiming housing is the “cure-all” for this moral epidemic that has spun out of control in a world-wide pandemic.
That letting those who live on the street in a sense legally and without consequence is the right thing to do.
That easing CDC guidelines and allowing the proliferation of encampments on and around the beach and boardwalk is an appropriate course of action versus letting the boardwalk be the boardwalk once again.
Soledad Ursua, recently reelected to the Venice Neighborhood Council and the chair of the influential Public Health & Safety Committee has been doing some outstanding work as it pertains to these critical public safety concerns in wake of the abdication of action by numerous elected officials now leaving the country for federal appointment or under the threat of yet another recall!
I sat in on their latest ZOOM call and the LAPD shared the latest crime statistics for Venice year over year:
· A 64% increase in violent crime
· A 150% increase in robberies
· A 93% increase in burglaries
· A 56% increase in grand theft auto
· A 55% increase in aggravated assaults with a deadly weapon
These are staggering increases in real criminal behavior which all point to the fact that more than 50% of these assaults involved a person of homelessness as a victim or perpetrator during this sharp spike in crime.
The numbers and data confirm the obvious: that there is a true link between rampant homelessness and rising crime.
It is a math that can no longer be ignored and denied.
For when “not-for-profit” service providers categorize local residents as “segregationists” because their quality-of-life has been robbed due to the obvious parallel of rampant homelessness and rising crime, there can never be any legitimate consensus on how to seriously move forward and fix the problem when the problem itself is not being truly analyzed by the data or the facts.
The indifference by the service provider community to this reality that rampant homelessness breeds crime is just to hold a blind eye to the new problem created by government inaction and that is Venice is now unsafe like never before!
Asking people to please leave the beach on their own terms is not a solution.
It is a way to pacify inept progressive public policy that has failed.
An approach that will not upset, nor point out the obvious failure of these policies that never worked and never will.
For when public safety concerns for the public at-large take a back seat to enabling homeless policies that don’t work and make the situation even worse; what you see currently at the boardwalk and around Venice is becoming a permanent new reality!
So are all homeless individuals criminals, drug addicted and transient?
But a large portion of this population fits this description and when failing to address these foundational concerns are ignored, you create an adversarial conflict with residents that is unnecessary and lends to a lack of cooperation and support of those affected by this environment at the beach which is both dangerous and hostile.
As we crawl out of this pandemic the commerce and tourism lost at the boardwalk needs to be regained and realized by ending any encampments and understanding that the lack of action has made things worse.
But more importantly, government & homeless bureaucrats, burying their heads literally in the sand by failing to acknowledge the truth about rampant homelessness and rising crime can no longer occur and that to fix the problem a public safety and law enforcement component can no longer be excluded or denied!
The author is a member of the Outreach, Parking and Oceanfront Walk Committees of the Venice Neighborhood Council and can be reached at (310) 621-3775 or firstname.lastname@example.org