Santa Monica Residents and Officials Call for Urgent Action Amid Rising Homeless Violence

Santa Monica, CA – Following a wave of violent incidents, residents and city officials in Santa Monica are raising serious concerns about public safety. Mayor Phil Brock is calling for emergency funds, increased police presence, and state assistance to address the escalating crisis.

Rising Violence and Community Impact

Christina Tullock, a resident near the Santa Monica-Venice border, highlights the city's beauty but laments the increasing violence. “We’re losing it,” she told KTLA’s Rachel Menitoff, citing frequent violent attacks she attributes to mental health and drug issues. Tullock advocates for proactive measures, emphasizing, “Help people who are sick, help people who are on drugs.”

As crowds gather at the Santa Monica Pier for the Fourth of July holiday, the city has experienced a string of violent attacks since the start of the year.

Recent Violent Incidents

  • Beach Brawl: This past weekend, five men were arrested after a large brawl on the beach resulted in one stabbing and another person sustaining a broken ankle. Both victims were hospitalized.
  • Attacks by Homeless Individuals: Earlier in the week, Jawann Dwayne Garnett, a homeless man, was arrested for attacking three female beachgoers. He faces charges of attempted rape and attempted murder.
  • Fatal Bar Assault: On June 11, a 26-year-old man fatally punched the manager of Jameson’s Pub on Main Street after being asked to leave.
  • Assault on Elderly Woman: In late May, a 39-year-old homeless man was arrested for attacking a 73-year-old woman, causing minor injuries.
  • Unprovoked Stabbings: Larry Ameyal Cedeno was arrested for an unprovoked assault near Parking Structure 7 on May 16, leaving two people hospitalized with stab wounds.
  • Attempted Sexual Assault: Malcolm Ward, a parolee, was charged with attempted kidnapping and assault with intent to commit rape after dragging a jogger by the hair on Ocean Front Walk.

Community Reactions and Safety Concerns

Residents like Howard Zickefose express confusion and concern over sudden police activity, recounting a recent experience with the beach brawl. Elizabeth Brown advises tourists to remain vigilant, stating, “You just need to be a little more acutely aware of your surroundings.”

Mayor's Response and Call for Support

Mayor Brock acknowledges that the issues in Santa Monica reflect broader trends in Los Angeles, citing crimes committed by mentally ill or drug-affected homeless individuals, as well as opportunistic criminals. His plan involves saturating business and residential areas with police officers to prevent crimes. However, the city council recently rejected his proposal to allocate a few million dollars from the city’s budget for emergency security measures this summer.

Brock stresses the need for funding, court system support, and cooperation from the district attorney’s office and the state of California to effectively combat the rising violence. Residents like Matt Gotzka, who seek a safe and enjoyable environment, echo the call for action. “You’re here trying to have a good time,” Gotzka told KTLA, highlighting the urgency for improved security.

As Santa Monica grapples with these challenges, the community remains hopeful for solutions that will restore peace and safety to this iconic Southern California city.