A video posted online Friday appears to show a homeless man being attacked by an unidentified man and woman as he sits on the ground near the boardwalk – while other people walk past without intervening.
Concerns from neighborhood residents, business owners and law enforcement have grown in the months since tent encampments on the beach expanded and quality-of-life issues continue to plague the area.
Last week, a homeless man was found dead inside a tent along the beach boardwalk – known as Ocean Front Walk – and another man, also homeless, was arrested in connection with the slaying.
The Los Angeles Police Department told Fox News it was unaware of the incident.
In another video, a man is seen being taken into custody by a pack of police officers on the beach before he is put onto a stretcher. The user who posted the footage said it occurred after a random attack near the boardwalk. The LAPD did not respond to a Fox News inquiry of the incident.
In a video posted to YouTube by TonyVeraNews, a man being interviewed claimed the attacker broke his fishing rod and punched him in the stomach.
“This guy was having a mental health episode and he basically assaulted me and battered me on the beach,” he said. “It was more upsetting than serious until he broke my fishing rod and I was like ‘Well, now he does have a weapon.’”
Assaults, robberies up sharply
Authorities did not have figures readily available Friday but as of the end of May, Venice experienced a 132% increase in assaults in which a homeless person was a suspect this year and a 126% increase in which the victim was homeless.
Robberies in which a homeless person was the victim increased by 1,100% and robbery incidents where a homeless person was a suspect saw a 160% increase. Overall, felony arrests in Venice increased by 81%, according to figures the LAPD provided to Fox News.
Since the expansion of the Venice beach encampment, authorities have fielded reports of shootings, arson, assault and harassment. Some residents previously told Fox News they have refrained from going to the beach after certain times or altogether.
In response, Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva has dispatched deputies with his department’s Homeless Outreach Services Team to address the homeless issue in Venice. Last month, he asked county leaders to declare a state of emergency in response.
Earlier this week, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti claimed he wanted to avoid a confrontation with the sheriff over the homelessness issue.
“I’m not going to get into a p—ing match with the sheriff, I welcome him here,” Garcetti said Tuesday in Venice. “If he doesn’t want to have press conferences but he wants to have results, we housed more people yesterday than he had all week. And one could ask the same thing, where has he been? This is not about throwing stones around.”
Two weeks before the sheriff’s request, a Venice business owner said a security guard at his shop was brutally attacked and stabbed with a bottle in the parking by a homeless person after being told he couldn’t drink alcohol on the premises.
“Today in Venice we are completely on our own,” Bob Carlson said at a June 21 news conference. “You don’t realize how much you need the police until they’re not there. Until they’re prevented from doing their job. Thank God the sheriff is willing to intervene.”
“You don’t realize how much you need the police until they’re not there.”
Later that day, the Los Angeles City Council voted to draft new rules to prevent the homeless from camping in certain public areas. As of Thursday, 74 people moved into housing as part of an initiative to clear the Venice encampments, Los Angeles City Councilman Mike Bonin tweeted.
Fox News reached out to Bonin’s office regarding the initiative but has not heard back.