Criminal Transient Crimes In Venice Clouded By Vague LA Homeless Laws

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This morning, it happened again. 5 A.M. – A woman was asleep in bed with her husband and 4 yr old, to feel a transient touching her legs while she slept.  She woke up, asked him what he was looking for, and he slowly turned and walked away. She said, “THERE IS SOMEONE IN THE HOUSE”. The husband went into the living room, where the tall man was sitting on the sofa, texting on a cell phone. The husband asked what he was doing, and he slowly got up and left – never uttering a word. The man had entered the home by breaking a window. The victims called police, and the perp was caught an hour later doing the same thing at another home.

This crime, called a “Hot Prowl”… is an almost daily occurrence. Two weeks ago in a story that made headlines around the world, a transient broke through the door of a home on Windward, and followed the female victim who was asleep half-clothed in her bed up to the roof of her home. That transient, who has a violent history… plead not guilty and has a hearing this Friday October 10th for his crime.

Aside from the frightening horror of having someone boldly enter your home while you are there to burglarize you, rob you, sexually assault you or just execute some drug-addled mental-illness tirade, these crimes fall into a bucket that often has the offender out and back on the streets in days. With the exception of a very high-profile news story… these common daily hits on the homes in Venice are part of the fabric of the cloudy homeless issues plaguing the entire City of Los Angeles… but in particular Venice Beach.

With thousands of tourists that won’t stick around to file a police report, go to court, or even be in the country to see a crime through to prosecution – Venice is like a high-end candyland for criminals. Easy targets, people who like to leave doors and windows open to enjoy the beach breeze… who often are professionals with lots of expensive electronics and camera equipment ripe for the taking.  If you are a drug addict, Venice Beach is like one-stop-shopping to facilitate and enable your entire F’d up lifestyle. Or, lets skip the drugs and just focus on people looking for easy targets to steal from. Clearly any notion of scaring or waking up a person that may be in a home is not really a big concern given the trend in these crimes…. and the cloudy veil murking up the whole situation is the breakdown in laws that manage the homeless and protect citizens and homeowners in the City of LA.

We have two major issues enabling the street-crime free-for-all in L.A. First, the Jones Settlement in 2006 allows the homeless to sleep on City of LA sidewalks at night until 1250 shelter beds are provided. As we approach the 10-year mark nobody in the City seems to have any idea what the hell is going on, or where we are with fulfilling that agreement. I did some research last year with what scant information was available and it seemed like we were about 350 beds away from fulfilling the agreement and ending that settlement so the homeless would have to go to a shelter at night. That was a year ago, and the rate of fulfilling beds would have put us over-quota at this point. But, not one City Office can give me a straight answer as to the status or progress of this. The impact however hits homeowners in areas like Venice hard. Why? Because a law that was intended to provide relief to HOMELESS people actually facilitates people who are just criminals to live on the streets and burglarize, steal, deal drugs, etc. rent-free on the sidewalk all night because there aren’t enough shelter beds. The big question is what if the # of beds was fulfilled tomorrow? What would the City of LA do?

The second issue is a recent ruling last July that struck down LAMC 85.02 where it was illegal in The City of LA to live in your car. While other cities and areas have enforceable ordinances … a judge ruled that the existing code for Los Angeles was too “vague” and it was struck down. So where does that leave us? With nothing. The City Attorney has the create a new law and go through that process in order to rectify the situation – and those things never go quickly. In fact, nobody knows if it is even going at all. In the meantime, from the days just 5 years ago when Venice had over 250 broken-down RV’s clogging the streets with sewage and people living out of their vehicles… we are now back on the path as more arrive every week. Again, our “homeless” aren’t down-and-out “homeless”. They are people who want to be off the grid, live in a comfortable climate on the street, and exist under the radar executing petty, and not-so-petty crimes – and the residents / tourists are the victims.

In addition to these two situations that are beyond the ability of the City of LA or LAPD to manage in our area, the homeless are allowed to have “stuff”.  That, too is also vague and the City does not have adequate facilities to manage the situation… resulting in many homeless and mentally ill hoarding tons and tons of trash and belongings on the streets and sidewalks right next to your house. But that is just part of the issue, the point of this story is how THAT situation also allows criminal transients living under the conditions in place for the HOMELESS to also live on the street and manage criminal operations that include stealing from you, robbing you and hot-prowling your house with a bonus leg-feel at 5 A.M. while you are in bed with your family.

The giant magnet facilitating this entire mess is the Venice Beach Boardwalk. The “Vending” area attracts grifters, drug dealers, and the lax monitoring and enforcement of the businesses on the “east side” in the buildings allow for under-the-table pawn-shop trading of stolen goods and drug trades. The reality is many of the brick-and-mortar businesses on the boardwalk hustle drugs, stolen goods, and the occasional human-trafficking that you would expect to find in any major city, major tourist hub and major loosely-patrolled by law enforcement area.

Here is a fact…. regardless of whatever bullshit The City wants to feed you about crime statistics, which no resident or business owner actually gives one shit about… you walk down the boardwalk in Venice Beach and there are so many violations that LAPD can’t possibly keep the lid from boiling off the pot. We do NOT have enough police officers. So… ok…. I’m sure if you put a person in a chair at any given stop sign in the city…. you would see people blow through it all day long. You can’t have a cop at every corner 24/7/365. The problem in Venice however is it is a devils cauldron of instances that are too difficult to manage individually, let alone all piled together. Officers at the beach have to just overlook blatant misdemeanor violations and petty crimes even if it is a citizens call because the prospect of what is bubbling constantly on the surface requires being on constant alert.

So, until The City gets their shit together and addresses the Jones Settlement, has a subsequent plan for being able to manage the criminal transients living on the street under the guise of being the down-and-out homeless, expect to be robbed, burglarized or have a drug-driven crime committed against you on the street or while you are home asleep, and have whatever was stolen from you conveniently transported to the Venice Beach Boardwalk and sold in the back of a “jewelry store” or “pipe shop” for cash…. never to be seen again. Until that happens, which requires a pretty complex operation – more cops would sure HELP a lot.

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Transient that broke into home and chased female on to roof has a court appearance this Friday. He plead not guilty.

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