Residents in Los Angeles’ coastal Venice neighborhood are calling for action
Residents in Los Angeles’ coastal Venice neighborhood are calling for action over homeless encampments in the area that have been connected to a string of crimes, including shootings, fights, fires and drug use.
The city as a whole is grappling with a homeless crisis that has only gotten worse in recent years. Over five years, the homeless population has increased by half, according to a January report released by the Luskin Center for History and Policy at the University of California in Los Angeles.
In Venice, some of the more violent incidents alarming residents and business owners include an April 28 shooting in which a man was shot but survived. No suspects have been identified, the Los Angeles Police Department told Fox News. Another includes a Monday explosion inside an encampment that caused a fire.
The incidents are the latest of several chaotic events that have prompted concern from residents over the expansion of homeless encampments along the city’s famous boardwalk – Ocean Front Walk – and elsewhere in a neighborhood known for its beach and canals, which draw visitors from all over the region.
Kevin Buttress, 32, who owns the Xquisite Barber Lounge barbershop, told Fox News he was attacked in November by a pit bull owned by a homeless person and was knocked unconscious with a skateboard. He’s owned his businesses for five years and has been cutting hair in the area for eight years, he said.
“I’ve given a lot of myself to the community of Venice Beach,” Buttress said. “And to see everything just fall to pieces, it’s messed up.”
He said the suspect in his attack was arrested and released days later amid efforts by Los Angeles County to cut the number of jail inmates over concerns about the spread of COVID-19. He noted that shootings, stabbings and other violent crimes are now common in the area.