Once the jewel of SoCal, progressive politics and corrupt bureaucrats have turned Santa Monica into the 6th most dangerous city in California.
Police on Thursday night arrested a homeless man suspected of stabbing two people at Santa Monica’s Ocean Front Walk Park, according to the city’s police department. The man, now identified as 26-year-old Jamal K. Lampitt, stabbed the first victim multiple times near a public restroom after a failed robbery attempt, then knifed a second male on a bike several times for “no apparent reason.”
Sadly, this is not unusual these days. Luckily both victims are recovering in the hospital and are expected to survive:
— PupScanLA (@PupscanLA) November 18, 2022
This follows a spate of incidents in late October where three knifings occurred in a period of four days.
Violence like this has become an all-too-common occurrence in the once-idyllic gem of SoCal, whose turquoise waters, cool climate, and wide beaches have made it a tourist hotspot and the desired neighborhood of celebrities and the well-off.
I visited Santa Monica’s iconic 3rd Street Promenade on a recent sunny Saturday, and the streets were filled with people enjoying the afternoon, listening to musicians, grabbing coffee, and dining al fresco. It was the postcard picture of Southern California, the place where you’d imagine the Brady Bunch dashing off for a weekend beach outing.
But that all changes at night, writes a resident in an April letter to the editor of the Santa Monica Mirror (emphasis mine):
We are being invaded by transient addicts and the dumped mentally ill who aren’t from here, but wash up, drawn by our weather, a buffet of free food, easy access to drugs, the ability to steal whatever they want from our stores, and to sleep it off unhassled in our streets, alleys, beaches, library, and parks—making them unusable to the people who actually live here. Our policies are enabling the problem and our generosity is being gamed.
I’ll say it again, I can’t walk from my home on 9th street to the promenade without being accosted, harassed, and threatened—while walking past a dozen passed out addicts sleeping it off on our streets…
The women on my block, my wife included, will not go out after dusk by themselves because they’ve faced random attacks from men crazed on meth or just crazy.
According to real estate executive John Alle, who owns and manages over 700,000 square feet of commercial and residential real estate all over LA County, “Santa Monica is the most dangerous and destructive” of all of the communities where he does business. It might look nice on this clear weekend afternoon, he explained, but just wait:
…after 5 pm daily it’s a dangerous ‘wild west’ atmosphere where crime rules and drugged out zombies set up chop shops, and buy and sell drugs, then use the storefronts as a toilet and private sleeping quarters…
And two to four people a month are dying on the streets, alleyways and in the parking garages. I have seen three such deaths…. There are also five fires in the alleyways and trash dumpsters on average a month started by homeless and drug addicts.
As tempting as it is to blame all the city’s woes on politicians, it’s actually the city’s own voters who have brought the situation upon themselves. They wanted it, they keep voting in those who promote it—and now they’ve got it. Known to some derisively as “Soviet Monica,” the city has long been known as a haven for the homeless and is even subject to barbs from travel websites:
When the seaside city turned so far to the left politically, critics dubbed it the ‘People’s Republic of Santa Monica.’ For years, this beach city meant good living to the homeless, a place where they could beg freely for money, fill up Santa Monica’s pristine parks, wander its beaches, and bathe in its fountains.
Who else is to blame for these problems? Alle is clear: the Mayor (Sue Himmelrich), the City Manager, and the City Council. He says:
“The Mayor (who is not running for reelection but is supporting someone exactly like her), feels we can build housing to solve the homelessness. But she does not understand we need mental facilities re-opened. They have told the Police not to enforce non-camping laws on our sidewalks, doorways, and parks. The Mayor and City Manager were aware of the needle distribution program [in area parks, some close to playgrounds], but did not disclose such, even to the Council.”
The occasional whiff of urine was a mere annoyance as we talked; on summer days, however, it’s much more overpowering. Residents of the nearby leafy, tony neighborhoods of SM will express shock if you tell them that there is violent crime regularly occurring in their city and will claim that they don’t see anything of the sort. But that’s because they rarely venture downtown: “Today, it is estimated that less than 12% of Santa Monica residents venture to come to the downtown area,” the Culver City Observer reported in February. Alle also told me that foot traffic is down almost 20 percent, which severely hurts retailers.
That would explain the many buildings I saw permanently shuttered with “for lease” signs in their windows. “More stores are closing than opening in the Downtown and Promenade,” he says.
Not surprisingly in a progressive city these days, the Santa Monica Police Department is chronically understaffed (yes, you must be vaxxed to even apply for a job, which has turned away an untold number of recruits), and the city has had to resort to costly, ineffective private security patrols at night.
I have found and have discarded weapons from right behind my own property on the 3rd Street Promenade… Weapons of choice carried by the homeless are 6″ knives, 6″ cast iron broken pipes, long sticks, sawed off fishing rods, brass knuckles, and….mace…
Downtown and Promenade are still experiencing 4 to 6 “walk-in, grab, and walk-out” robberies a month. An average of 3 storefronts are smashed every month.
The FBI ranks Santa Monica 224 in safety out of 230 municipalities, meaning it’s the sixth most dangerous city in the Golden State, coming behind notoriously violence-plagued areas like Compton and Oakland. Murders and overdoses are now common.
In one area, mail service had to be suspended in April because postal carriers were scared of getting assaulted:
I mean, seriously, it’s so nuts that you can’t even deliver the mail?
In 2019, meanwhile, Santa Monica police arrested multiple suspects in a drug investigation, finding vehicles, a large cache of weapons, 21 handguns, 8 long guns/rifles, over 4,000 rounds of ammunition, cocaine, methamphetamine, and heroin—not to mention over $200,000 in currency. Not exactly what you’d expect to find when you go on a beach vacation.
So while I saw plenty of tourists, John told me that, anecdotally, they’re booking five-day stays—but leaving after two.
The Promenade and the parks are hardly alone in their crime issues—the exterior of the library is also home to dangerous criminals, and not surprisingly, a murder occurred in July. Alle had written officials three weeks before warning of the dangerous situation brewing there, noting that private security guards won’t approach the homeless because they are scared for their safety. The result: “The vagrants and drug users have unrestricted use of the library exterior and adjacent surface parking lot, because these are both areas Allied [Security] will not venture into.”
Don’t expect much help from prosecutors: soft-on-crime LA County District Attorney George Gascón has jurisdiction over the area. His penchant for letting out hardened criminals has not helped the situation. Says Alle:
George Gascon and his policies are a disaster for LA County and Santa Monica especially. We see it on the Promenade and throughout Santa Monica with the same people getting arrested and released the same day.
Alle has reached out many times to County Supervisor Sheila “Snowflake” Kuehl and many others about Santa Monica’s problems but never hears back. Meanwhile, homelessness, the methamphetamine epidemic, and crime continue to bedevil this lovely town, which was once the pride of Southern California.
Now it’s just another in a long line of Cali cities that have descended from beauty into Third World conditions. Watch:
See Also –> RedState’s Coverage of Similar Issues plaguing tony Sherman Oaks, CA