No matter how much crime there is in Venice, it never seems to make it into major L.A. newspapers.
Comedian Rodney Dangerfield coined, “I don’t get no respect,” and Venice residents must feel similarly.
Over the past few weeks, the town with a population of about 37,000, saw a suspect arrested for a double homicide, two stabbings, three overdoses and a naked man – but little news coverage. One resident said, “What do we have to do to get in the L.A. Times?”
The L.A. Times had more important stories to cover last week: a man who fired shots near the Hollywood Farmers Market, and a photo of a dove that was about to be released to bless the 6th Street Viaduct.
If Venice residents want coverage, they might need to get a dove.
The May double homicide of Venice residents Brandon Neal, 31, and Courtney Johnson, 31, was solved with the the July 15 arrest of Abelardo Bon, 28. The Westside Current covered it, but there was nary a peep in the Times.
The body of an unidentified, unresponsive man, was found July 24, at an abandoned building at the 200 block of Lincoln Boulevard. The 30-year-old was slumped over between bushes and the abandoned building. It was believed to be a drug overdose.
On July 25, there was a stabbing that happened around 5:40 a.m. at the intersection of Abbot Kinney and Venice Boulevard. The victim went to the hospital in stable condition. Ironically another stabbing had happened hours earlier at the same location, but police didn’t know if the two stabbings were related.
Hmmm. Call me Sherlock, two stabbings within hours of each other at Abbot Kinney. . . .
On July 26, the body of an unidentified man, 30s, was found unresponsive behind an abandoned building next to the Whole Foods parking lot. ‘The death was investigated and determined to be an accidental overdose,’ police told the Current.
“‘That place is a drug den and that’s a well-known fact around here,’ a person who works nearby told the Current. ‘I see women by the dumpster, sometimes naked, cleaning themselves. When an employee asked one woman to stop harassing nearby customers, she threw dirty wet rag at him.’”
On July 27, there was a woman, 30, found dead on the Venice Boardwalk, mostly likely a drug overdose.
The same day. . . . “Naked Man Wanders into Whole Foods in Venice – Lives in Newly Opened VCHC Complex.”
A naked man walked into whole foods and was asked to leave by security guards. A few minutes later he returned partially dressed.
“He was 6’2” and he was buck naked. The police were called. They came about 2-3 hours later,” an eyewitness told the Current.
Questions not asked were “Is it sanitary to shop naked? Was he wearing a mask?”
But more importantly if you’re behind a customer in a grocery line and naked, please observe six-foot social distancing.
The man is a resident of the newly opened Venice Community Housing Rose Avenue Apartments for the homeless, which is located across the street from Whole Foods at Lincoln. VCH is the nonprofit that was given the building and provides accommodations for those experiencing mental illness.
Shoppers reported that “There’s been a lot of drama at that new building. A day before the naked guy incident, a couple walked out and the woman started beating on the man, hitting him and telling people that she was being assaulted. She was yelling at the guy, asking him where her dog was. Then some people from the building yelled out that her dog was in the complex and to come get it.”
On July 28, The Current reported “Police are investigating the death of a man whose body was found at the entrance of an abandoned building in Venice.” It was the same location another body had been found earlier that week. The death is still under investigation.
“I don’t get no respect” Venice – and Hollywood were chosen by Mayor Eric Garcetti to participate in unarmed response team (CIRCLE) Community-Led Engagement Pilot. It would divert nonviolent 9-1-1 calls related to homelessness to a nonprofit Urban Alchemy. Police would not be needed.
In October 2021, Urban Alchemy received $2.6 million and a six-month contract and in April 2022, the program was expanded with $8 million for Urban Alchemy and an additional $2 million to expand a program that responds to 911 calls for mental health emergencies with mental health workers, rather than police officers.
Thank goodness, this program seems to be working – maybe?
CTN urges the people of Venice not to lose heart. Sooner or later the Los Angeles Times will want to report on CIRCLE success in Venice. They will do an in-depth story of a person down on his/her luck and how he/she were saved by mental health workers.
Maybe the story will even carry a photo.