Homeless Encampments Are Gone and Crime is Way Down, So Far, in Venice

Three months after Mayor Karen Bass worked to relocate unhoused residents into safer, temporary housing, the I-Team talks to people in Venice about what has changed.

NBC Universal, Inc.

For the first time in years, Venice resident Kaaren Kitchell isn't afraid to walk the few blocks from her home to workout at Gold's Gym.

"I feel totally safe now, walking in Venice, at any hour," Kitchell told NBC4.

That's because in the first three months of this year, LAPD data shows crime is down in that part of Venice. It comes at the same time dozens of homeless tents that covered the sidewalks for years in the neighborhood around Gold's are now gone.

"I thought it was hopeless. I never expected to see the sidewalks here clear of tents," Kitchell added.

The clearing of Venice encampments began in early January, as LA's new mayor--Karen Bass--launched her "Inside Safe" program to dismantle encampments and get the homeless off the streets.

Teams of outreach workers offered services and motel rooms to people living in tents on 3rd Street and on Hampton Drive in Venice, then removed the tents and cleaned the streets. 

"People feel safer since the tents are gone," said George Francisco, a Venice resident and business owner.

Safer because overall crime is down so far where there were once encampments.

According to the LAPD, crime in the neighborhood around the former 3rd Street and Hampton Drive encampments is down almost 24 percent in the first quarter of this year, compared to a year ago.

Even more dramatic is the drop in crime around the world famous Venice Boardwalk, where there were some 200 tents at one point. Those tents are now gone.

The first quarter of this year had a nearly 48 percent drop in crime from the same time a year earlier, according to LAPD crime stats obtained by the I-Team.

The I-Team has previously reported that in many cases, the unhoused were the victims of the crimes. A big reason why Mayor Bass worked to relocate them into safer housing.

Venice residents who spoke to NBC4 hope everyone—housed and unhoused—is safer now.

"I’m optimistic, but not confident that Venice will stay clear of tents," says business owner George Francisco. 

"I believe that the city of LA has not proven that it can maintain a sustained effort to work interdepartmentally to provide some basic services, either to homeless or to residents," Francisco told NBC4. 

Contact Us