“But Being Homless Isn’t Criminal. . .”

No, it’s not. And no one is saying it should be.

But what is criminal is the city’s refusal to enforce basic city codes and laws that keep the streets and residents of Harry Culver’s dream city safe.

Permanent Tent City Under the 405-Overpass

It was in July 1913 that Harry Culver announced his plans to develop a city in a spot between Los Angeles and Venice.

Amidst the crime and corruption of Los Angeles, Culver City, the city that bears our founder’s name, has historically been a haven of peace, safety, and cleanliness.

Not any more, as is evident from the image on the left taken from Culver City’s Globe Avenue.

Things began to change in 2017, when Los Angeles our neighbor refused to enforce its vagrancy laws, allowing known drug dealers, felons, drug abusers, and severely mentally ill people to set up tents on the north—Los Angeles—side of Venice Boulevard under the 405 freeway overpass.

Residents of Culver City’s Globe Avenue on the south side of Venice Boulevard were already beginning to feel the negative effects of this decision. Residents reported their cars were being broken into, bicycles, tools, and other personal property stolen. Petty crime was on the rise.

On a couple of occasions gunshots were heard—some gang or the other protesting the vagrants’ encroachment of their drug turf.

As Culver City residents, we couldn’t appeal to our city. After all, this was an LA issue. But residents feared that before long the problem would spill over onto our side of the overpass.

That fear came to pass in the late summer of 2019. Tents began to be put up on the south side of Venice Boulevard. Calls to the police were of no avail.

Dispatch either argued with residents, insisting the south side of Venice Boulevard under the 405-freeway was under the jurisdiction of Los Angeles.

When police officers did respond, it was to put up removal notices, which were never heeded.

Then came a threat from Mike Bonin, and our city council under Mayor Meghan Sahli Wells and our city attorney caved.

But being homeless isn’t a crime, you say. No it’s not.

But a failure to keep our streets and sidewalks clean is. As is a failure to keep our residents safe.

2 Replies to ““But Being Homless Isn’t Criminal. . .””

  1. Great article, telling the truth. What really irritates me is that our Culver City Police have their hands tied. I wonder how many on the city council actually live in Culver City, or live behind gated, security walls? If any of them would have to put up with vagrants sleeping on their lawns or hear constant crazy screaming, on a daily/nightly basis from behavioural health/drug addicts, I guarantee you something would be done. Culver City is better than this.

  2. Thanks! The Mayor does live in Culver City–in Police District 1, also known as downtown Culver City, which gets the most attention in terms of policing.

    While vagrancy and its attendant issues aren’t a crime in the rest of Culver City, they appear to be so in the Mayor’s own backyard. A month or two back, Lin Howe Elementary School parents received a letter from the principal apologizing that the children had to see a “homeless” man being tackled to the ground and forcefully subdued by police.

    He was just walking “erratically” around. Now we’ve called police dispatch about people shooting dope, dealing drugs, sitting on private property, drinking from open containers–and nothing gets done.

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