LAPD Command Staff Directive = F-You Beachgoers. Be A Victim Because We Won’t Respond To The Sand.

I live in Los Angeles in the area patrolled by LAPD Pacific Division known as Venice Beach.

Here are a few things I have learned from living here…

Venice is supposedly the 2nd largest tourist attraction in southern California after Disneyland. One of the two has a budget. I’ll let you guess.

Of the entire Pacific Division area which includes Mar Vista, Del Rey, Playa del Rey, Palms, Marina Del Rey, Westchester…. jam all those neighborhoods together and guess where the majority of the crime happens? VENICE BEACH. So, of the whole division, Venice is the focal point that drives the majority of the crime stats for the entire area. Great. We’ll come back to that.

Like other divisions of the LAPD, our police officers drive cruisers. Unlike other divisions, some of ours are specially designed to drive on the sand. Quick reminder: “the sand” includes that special area known as “the beach” where all that crime happens.

Here’s another Fun Fact: People in cars are known to get into car accidents. Police sometimes get into car accidents. Luckily, when the police get into an accident in a City car, the LAPD doesn’t put an end to them driving cars anymore. BUT, in Venice last year officers ran over a person laying in the sand. (She wasn’t hurt badly at all, and she refused medical treatment after an initial assessment.) But after that event a member of the command staff immediately stopped our officers from driving on the sand “until they evaluated and assessed the situation and determined if more training was needed”.

Now, that wasn’t the first time LAPD has run over someone in the sand. I’m not going to get into the details, but based on perspective, line of sight, and a material that gives the visual illusion of looking the same despite vast irregularities in the terrain…. it is an easy thing to do. It is just a byproduct of sand being sand which can hide a person laying down completely from just a few feet away. That characteristic doesn’t just apply to LAPD officers…it applies to everyone.

Also, LAPD is not the only city or county agency that drives on the sand. Beaches & Harbors, Lifeguards, Sanitation, Rec & Parks, lots of agencies drive on the sand. Guess what, every agency has run over someone laying in the sand. Sometimes its not so bad, sometimes its REALLY BAD. It has happened in the past. It will happen in the future. Similarly, people who drive cars …. anywhere … tend to get into accidents too. So its safe to say that if you are driving a car, and are a police officer or not… accidents are going to happen. Not because of a lack of training or gross negligence or whatever… it’s just people + cars = accidents. Its true. Look it up.

But lets get back to the beach.

When word got out last fall that LAPD wasn’t going to drive on the sand… guess where all the robbers, burglars, thieves and scoundrels went after committing a crime? Yep. The sand. At first LAPD would call lifeguards to drive them out to meet a victim or go after a suspect… but then the FD was like F that – why should we be put in harms way when that isn’t our job, its the po-lice job. Then for every crime including ADW, people brandishing guns where the perps ran to the sand… LAPD would call an airship… which would only respond if available and if able.  That also takes time…. the whole thing was a mess… so the cops just gave up on the whole thing, and only went on the sand to walk someone that was easy to put in custody back up to the beach… which is still pretty time consuming. Supposedly if there was some “crazy circumstance” that required officers to drive on the sand… a supervisor could run it up the flagpole for approval. But nobody is going to request that because (A) it is stupid (B) colossal waste of time (C) it isn’t remotely practical and (D) why ask to do something that if it happens for any reason to go sideways … your ass is going to get tagged with the blame. So whats easier? Just do nothing. Check.

Heres another thing about “the sand”. Ever been down to the beach during the summer? People aren’t dispersed in equi-distant squares each occupying a specified space… they are jam packed all over the sand. Lots of em. People. You know… the ones that both commit and are victims of that stuff called crime that happens a lot in that super popular area called Venice Beach.

Well, two weeks ago I heard now that it is summer and a decision needs to be made about driving on the sand… that the same command staff genius waved his mighty badge and hath set forth that the decision is that LAPD will never drive on the sand again.

Yep. That’s right people. “The Sand” … that giant area of City of Los Angeles property that encompasses 4 RD areas will no longer be patrolled by, or accessed by the Los Angeles Police Department by a vehicle. So, if you are a victim of a crime on the sand, which happens a hell of a lot more often that a person getting run over by any agency vehicle on the sand… I guess you can just go suck it because LAPD isn’t going to respond.

I can’t imagine a scenario where LAPD would tell the officers of a Division “Hey, RD 1402…. don’t drive there, patrol there or respond to calls for service there. Just… I dunno… figure something else out. ” I’m pretty sure that would never fly, but that is exactly what has just happened in Venice Beach.

This whole area… which is only accessible in any reasonable fashion by first responders or in an urgent situation via specialized vehicle, which LAPD has and has used like all the other agencies for decades… eh…. I guess people who are victims of crime can… go to the station and make a report? Or maybe call the front desk and wait for it to ring and ring and ring before someone picks up the receiver and hangs up. Is that effective police tactics? Is that what you would expect to be told as a victim? Well what do you think is going to happen when every cracked out bike stealing person with bad intentions learns if they haven’t already that LAPD won’t patrol on the sand at all.. so go ahead and rob somebody at knifepoint there because the cops won’t show up and you’ll probably get away with it. A lot.

Here’s something else you learn about the beach when you live here for a while. One of the most common crimes is drinking in public on the sand. TONS of people do it. You probably have. LAPD officers cruise the jam packed sand, and stop in a nice visible spot of thousands of people and take time dumping out the booze of people drinking on the sand for all to see, and write them a ticket. You know what that does? It actually stops or slows down a lot of other people doing the same thing. And what does that do?

After a long hot day in the sun… a lot of people are a lot less drunk when they leave the beach. They get into less fights. There is less drunk driving….less bad decision making and the amount of crime that doesn’t happen as a byproduct of everyone getting wasted on the sand all day is actually really significant.


So neighbors who walk along the sand in the morning, joggers that zip down to the beach for a run along the ocean…every other sucker who decides to pay a visit to the 2nd largest tourist attraction next to Disneyland…. enjoy you visit to Venice Beach this year…. see you on the crime stat sheet.

Took the area of the sand that LAPD used to patrol by vehicle and overlaid the exact area over other areas of the division. Would it be acceptable to have LAPD not patrol those areas at all?

Chick who was run over by LAPD and refused medical attention after being evaluated by FD at scene.


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