Several community groups, including Venice Stakeholders, are engaged in an ongoing collaboration with Los Angeles Rec. and Parks, the Chief Park Ranger, Council District 11 representatives, LA County representatives, and LAPD Pacific Division to make the Venice Beach Recreation Area safe and welcoming for summer.
We recently saw a small win with the liberation of the handball courts so the public can now enjoy them again.
We need a HUGE show of community support for this effort – and that’s where you come in. Can you please read the attached letter, which will be published in the Venice Current, and if you agree with it, do the following:
- Get at least five neighbors to sign onto the letter
- Have your signatories write to Connie Brooks at <firstname.lastname@example.org> authorizing the addition of their name to the letter by Wednesday, 5/5/21
- Watch the Venice Current for publication of the Open Letter with all signers
OPEN LETTER TO LOS ANGELES CITY AND COUNTY OFFICIALS
Venice Beach requires your urgent attention: Unhoused people on Venice Beach and Boardwalk need shelter and services while residents and visitors need access to a safe and welcoming beach park.
Our historic and world famous Venice Beach Recreation Area typically gets over 10 million visitors each year. As L.A. enters the yellow tier and more people travel, we cannot endanger our visitors by allowing the current lawless and inhumane conditions at Venice Beach to continue. Encampments have ballooned from 50 tents reported by LAPD in an August 2020 LA Times article to over 200 tents counted by locals in April of 2021.
With that surge we have experienced massive increases in: violent crimes, including homicides and brutal rapes; encampment-related fires, such as the destruction of an entire structure; and drug ODs, including a recent death in the newly renovated Rose Avenue bathroom adjacent to a children’s playground.
NO ONE IS SAFE – whether unhoused or housed. Comparing 2020 and 2021 to date, Boardwalk area robberies are up 271%, aggravated assaults are up 105.6%, burglaries are up 148%, and violent crimes involving unhoused persons as suspect and/or victim are up more than 75%.
Venice’s world famous beach and Boardwalk are crippled. Local children are scared to come to the beach because they’re frightened by what they’ve seen. Seniors who live on or near the Boardwalk are terrified of walking in their own neighborhoods. Art vendors can’t access the spaces where they sell their creations to make a living. Restaurant patrons face bodily threats. Beach-goers must thread their way between encampments to reach the sand. And both unhoused and housed residents are prey to the verified gang infiltration happening throughout our park.
Enough is enough!
Venice Beach and Boardwalk – including the alleys and historic walk streets used for beach access – must be brought into compliance with State Coastal Act Law, Section 30210 and LAMC, Section 63.44. That section bans camping, tents, and requires that visitors and their personal possessions leave the park at 12 PM. These laws were put in place to ensure fair, safe, and equitable beach and park access. We – the undersigned community members, organizations, and businesses – fully support our LA Park Rangers and LAPD Beach Detail in making sure these vital protections remain in force. It benefits our entire county to make sure that its most visited beach destination is lawful and welcoming. You – as responsible officials – MUST ACT NOW to make Venice Beach safe and accessible, as our beach and park laws dictate.