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Dozens arrested in LAPD crackdown at Venice Beach

Los Angeles police arrested dozens of people over the weekend in the Venice Beach area as officers were out in force in response to violent incidents there in recent weeks, including a shooting during a "flash mob" gathering and the stabbing of a man in a drum circle on the sand.

More than 50 people have been booked since Friday for a variety of alleged offenses, including assault and public intoxication, according to the LAPD officials, who said there were so many people booked into the Pacific area station that the overflow of arrestees were taken to the 77th Street area station in South Los Angeles.

In addition to the arrests, officials said, LAPD officers handed out numerous citations in an effort to "send a message" to those who came to the beach to break the law. They said a final tally of arrests, including suspects taken into custody outside the immediate area around the Venice Beach waterfront, would be available later Monday.

The area along the boardwalk -- with its eclectic mix of tourists, street performers and bohemians -- is among the most popular visitor destinations in the Los Angeles areas, but policing the massive and sometimes unruly crowds is a challenge.

The LAPD routinely patrols the area on foot, on bikes and in SUVs along the sand and ramps up the number of officers in warm-weather months. After recent problems, two dozen officers from the West Bureau's violent crime task force were assigned to patrol the area, said Cmdr. Andy Smith.

No arrests have yet been made in the most high-profile incidents at the beach, the stabbing at a drum circle last weekend and the shooting that wounded a man during a "flash mob" gathering two weeks ago.

Overall, the number of violent crimes reported this year along the Venice boardwalk is roughly on par with the last two years, according to a Times analysis of LAPD data.

At least 26 violent crimes have been reported this year along the boardwalk in an area bounded by the ocean on the west and Pacific Boulevard on the east, compared with 25 at this point last year and 23 in the same span in 2009, according to the data.

Overall, crime in the Pacific Division, the LAPD patrol area that includes Venice Beach, has been trending down, with serious crimes dipping about 9% so far in 2011 and violent crime dropping about 5.6%, according to the LAPD.

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-- Andrew Blankstein

Click for crime reports across L.A. County on The Times' interactive database

 
Comments () | Archives (10)

Police should cordon off the area and let them have at each other. arrest the survivors.

Kudos to the LAPD. Venice Beach has been a cesspool for far too long.

"bohemians" is too nice of a word to describe the panhandling bums that try to survive there. Great work LAPD.

Venice Beach is a National treasure.
Just because the people there may not look and sound like you,
doesn't mean you should be fearful. Get over it, there are 7 billion
people on earth, and they will not all look and sound like you.
If you prefer to be in a town where everyone looks the same
try Century City, Beverly Hills, San Fernando Valley, most any suburb,
and most of Orange County.

Round-up the gangbangers, vagrants and homeless beggars. Ship them off to Lancaster / Palmdale or jail. Either way, get them out of town.

That's what Chief Parker would have done.

Hey Dave....Venice used to be a national treasure...now its just a rundown beach area filled with drugs, gangs, and mobile homes parked on all the streets. Its not about what people look like...its about how people act and how they continue to break the law and scare all the residents!!!!

Venice Beach of the late 1990's was a pleasant and interesting place to be for my kids. They treasure their memories of childhood "on the beach". In contrast, my adult son just came home from a visit and reported that the City of LA's portion of Venice Beach and its Boardwalk was a hell hole, covered in human feces, public trees knocked down, trash all over and filled with pot sellers who chased my son and his wife down the Boardwalk. In contrast, my son said the City of Santa Monica's beachside boardwalk in "Ocean Park" was pristine and pleasant.

Statistically, Venice Beach has been the #2 destination for out of state and foreign visitors to the LA Area. (Disneyland being #1.) The destruction of Venice Beach, at human hands, through its neglect by the City of LA, the LAPD and the City Council member from the Venice Beach area is simply a shameful waste of LA's natural resources.

Oh, really? This article states statistics about crimes rates, but I do not seem to remember massive organized mobs in past two years. I applaud the LAPD for doing their job. However, it will take more than police to solve the issues at Venice Beach. The community needs support from leadership and organizations to affiliate with one another to create a proactive non violence campaign.

Those bums... freak me out more than anything. The thing the cops can't manage to see is the drug dealers than sell and hangout at the beach all day, and have the place on lockdown with hawks on cellphones. Being street smart, I can pick suspects out fairly easy. The bums are the problem. Too many of them selling useless garbage.

I have visited Venice Beach several times. The first time was in 1994. I had a great time and found the area to be a melting pot of people from all over this world. The truly fun part of visiting the beach was you could participate in the "freak" shows or drum circles if you wanted to watch what was going on, or you could choose to ignore them, and do many of the other things that are available on the boardwalk. And you could do all of this with the peace of mind that you didn't have to fear for your safety, or be disgusted by what you saw.

However, I visited Venice Beach for the first time last summer, after being away from the beach for nearly 5 years. I was thoroughly disgusted with what I saw. I and my two boys (5 & 8 years old) were constantly approached by "medical practicioners" trying to sell me marijuana from one of the many "medical marijuana" clinics on the boardwalk. And if that wasn't enough - I was harrassed by several south central gangsters who wanted to sell me their most recent rap "music". One even went so far as to give my boy a CD & tell him it was free, then got pissed off when I wouldn't give him a donation, and physically took it from his hands & called him a name I will not repeat in this forum. He didn't cry, but I could tell he was visibly shaken. The boy is 8 years old. I saw other things that day that I could not believe. Fights between gang members, homeless people completely disrobed and showering in plain sight of the public, the stench and smell from the public bathrooms that look like they hadn't been cleaned in years. It was a despicable sight.

I find it hard to believe that the politicians and Mayor Villaraigosa have all the money and time to build up the downtown area and make it into a trendy, beautiful home for Angelenos, but cannot dedicate and devote the resources into one of the largest tourist attractions in Los Angeles. I give the police high marks for the work they do in the Venice area, however, they do not have enough personnel to effectively work the problems and the Mayor is not dedicating the additional resources necessary to bring back the luster and charm the area once had. I strongly encourage the mayor and City Council to take a look at these problems and do something about it. I will not go back until it changes. After all, a trip to the Santa Monica Pier is closer for me, and I don't have to worry about something as simple as peace of mind, and the freedom to just enjoy some time at the beach.


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