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Venice Beach sweep nets nearly 50 violators; social services offered

Police on horseback and in sport utility vehicles swept across Venice Beach in the darkness Friday morning, arresting nearly 50 people, many homeless, on warrants and felony violations, authorities said.

The sweep was part of an effort to address a recent spike in crime and a jump in the number of transients sleeping on the beach after it closes at midnight, LAPD officials said.

Friday's action marked the first time the beach curfew task force had combined a sweep with outreach efforts, officials said. Teams of social workers, counselors and religious representatives, including priests, were asked by the Los Angeles Police Department to meet with those arrested and inform them about available social services, including drug recovery programs.

“They handed out pamphlets of information on where to try and get shelter, gave them medical attention, gave them information to try and help them with being homeless,” said Sgt. Kevin Lowe, day watch commander of the Pacific Division. “A lot of them don’t take our advice, but at least we offer it.”

Sgt. Jeff Merlo, who participated in the sweep, could not confirm reports that some of the homeless thanked officers for arresting them because they had not showered in days. But he did say those rounded up were  cooperative.

“They could go back to the beach, but we’re hoping they’ll take our offers for services,” he said.

-- Amina Khan

Comments () | Archives (36)

they want to live at the beach! no matter what, can't the police understand that.

Amazing. Just a few blocks away is Oakwood, one of the most notorious gang area, selling crack, drive by shootings, etc. Rather than deal with real crime, the LAPD, of course, seeks to round up homeless people sleeping on the beach. What a waste of resources.

It's a pretty sad statement that people are grateful to get arrested just to have a chance to shower, possibly eat and stay warm.

Venice Beach, the boardwalk in particular, is a toilet. I can't help but wonder what most tourists think upon seeing that hideous eyesore.

I wonder who's idea it was in the propaganda office to slip in the piece about homeless people thanking their captors.

If you want to live at the beach, get an education, start a career, and make enough money to buy or rent a place to live there. Don't squat on the shores! Why should some be able to live on the beach at no cost when others have worked for it?!

The homeless will greet the mounted police as liberators! This is for their own good; we want to offer them hope and fellowship. By the way, I'm not sure we need warrants to carry out our great mission.

the beach used to be the place the rich people avoided and now the people who once made the area what it was ended up sleeping on the sand with no roofs over their heads. deplorable.

and yes i agree with @tom about oakwood. nightly gang shootings and drugs and other criminal activities

Re---Amazing. Just a few blocks away is Oakwood, one of the most notorious gang area...

True but the police are there on a daily basis. On the boardwalk the crime is directed at innocent tourists and citizens of S CA. In Oakwood if your a victim you probably could have avoided. there is no reason to be in Oakwood if you do not live there.

By take our service you mean drop them off downtown we don't want them in our beach community.

So they arrest these homeless people and send them to jail, a couple of days later they're out again. It's a revolving door, wasting taxpayers money having these cops go out and harassing these people. Like someone mentioned earlier, there is a section called Oakwood which is infested by low-life thugs selling crack and such. But yet, these cops as usual, take the easy less threating road.

And the problem if you want to call it that,will just return.
Same folks just a different area.Some knowing how to reach out for assistance whiles other have lost all hope.


People have been arrested for being homeless and broke and sleeping on the beach after midnight. How compassionate of the LA police and other authorities who sanctioned and planed this. You all should be so proud of your actions.

Those of you saying this is a waste of time and money obviously don't live in the neigbhorhood. The homeless population is out of control, and as the recent triple murder of Eun Kang and her unborn twins shows, it's not just people who are harmlessly loitering on the beach. This is a way to help make one of the most vibrant neighborhoods in LA safer, and the LAPD should be commended!!

If you live in Venice you might have become aware of a particular crew of well organized young hard looking gang camping out on Winward Circle and cruising the neighborhood and aggressively harassing and assaulting residents and passersby. These aren't the down and out, mentally ill or vets that need our compassion or help. This is an element who are usually out of their minds on the kinds of substances that tend to lead to desperation and violence. They are otherwise young healthy strong individuals making a choice to say f-you to the man. Which is all fine and dandy until you start breaking and entering, sleeping on my lawn, defecating in peoples stairwells and threatening our safety. If the LAPD are finally addressing this, then I say hooray.

Homelessness is not a crime under California law. LAPD's Pacific Division is notorious for it's lazy cops. Real crime is too big for them to handle. That is why they go after the most vulnerable.

These people are not just "sleeping" on the beach. They leave glass bottles, needles, and tons of trash on the beaches for children to find the following morning. I would rather police work on both fronts.

These people are not just "sleeping" on the beaches. They leave needles and glass bottles and tons of trash for children to play in when the next morning comes along. I am happy the police are at least making an attempt to clean it up. Police should be working on all aspects of crime. Not just gangs either.

They can't just live at the beach. No matter what. Can people not just understand that.

Homeless sweeps are a disturbing practice. I am glad to hear that this effort was at least augmented with offering services.

Through a series of personal misfortunes I was homeless for about a year right after I came back from the army in 1970.

The terror of not being able to find a safe place to sleep impressed itself deeply into my mind .

The fear of either being beaten and robbed, or turned in to the police, jailed ; and one's few possesions trashed was always there.

In the words of the old Dylan song...
" The Cops don't need you and Man, they expect the same".

All of you easy chair quarterbacks came up with really sound solutions to the problem. Pat yourselves on the back everybody...

Just curious...to those who posted negative comments about this story...what have you personally done to help the situation?

At least something was done. The crime has gone up because of the homeless or other reasons along the beach. SO the cops went out and swept it up. They offered services. Well done, cops. Now go on to the gang areas.

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