Venice residents, businesses fed up with homeless problem: 'It's disgusting'

Residents and business owners in Los Angeles' Venice neighborhood say they are fed up and tired of the homeless crisis plaguing the city. 

Several homeless people have been blamed for robberies, violent encounters and even a fire that destroyed multiple homes.  

Security cameras caught a violent encounter between two homeless people Tuesday morning. Police were called to the Venice Pier around 6:30 a.m. for reports of an assault. Witnesses said a naked homeless man was beating and dragging a homeless woman. When officers arrived on scene, they had to use a Taser to subdue the man and take him into custody.  

On Sunday night, multiple homes along the Venice canals were destroyed in a massive fire. Community members and witnesses are blaming the homeless population.  

One man told FOX 11 he saw several homeless people coming and going out of the building next door, which was under construction. He didn't see the fire being lit, but saw it burning in the garage around 10:30 p.m. Sunday.   

RELATED: Neighbors blame homeless for Venice Canals fire that destroyed multiple homes

"It's disgusting. And it's not at all surprising. We've seen it time and time again. It's very frustrating. Because you're watching it, feeling that it's happening as you're watching that on the screen, and you can't do anything about it, because obviously it's already taken place and you can't protect the person that's been hit or stabbed or shot. And again, it's in a long line of these things right in our area. Venice Beach has been largely the epicenter for this stuff over the last year and half to two years," said Darrell Preston, who owns several businesses in Venice.

His security cameras caught that violent encounter Tuesday morning. 


He also said one of his businesses was robbed Monday morning by a homeless man who stole an expensive bottle of Mezcal. Preston told FOX 11 that he saw that same man Tuesday morning drinking from that bottle and stumbling around. 

The homeless population along costal cities has exploded over the past few years. Councilman Mike Bonin, who represents District 11, which includes Venice, has been trying to work and fix the homeless crisis there. He is now stepping down and two attorneys are running in the race.. Traci Park and Erin Darling. 

Park, who joined FOX 11 Special report, says if she was elected she would implement shorter-term emergency solutions to get people into safe settings and get them help. She would set up safe camping and parking locations and then move to shelter options. 

"This is a public health and safety crisis that we have on our hands and the patchworks of encampments we have all over Venice and the entire Westside are not working for anyone, our communities, our schools, our local businesses," Park said.