Venice boardwalk: Officials consider safety measures


It's a beach, park, commercial district and tourist attraction with a spirit of its very own. But there have been several incidents that have brought the Venice boardwalk the wrong kind of attention.

An Italian newlywed was killed by a driver who went around a barrier and plowed through the pedestrian area last summer.

There was also the brutal beating of a homeless man that was caught on camera, and the case of a man allegedly threatening people with a chainsaw.

And earlier this month, a crowd refused to disperse, leading to a police confrontation.

"We had some incidents lately and they solved them promptly and are moving toward prosecution. We've added more neighborhood policing down there," said Councilman Mike Bonin, who represents the 11th District.

Bonin says while these incidents have garnered attention, overall, crime is down in Venice. Still, he says it's time to clean up the boardwalk. He launched an initiative last year to make that happen.

"For too long, the city hasn't paid sufficient attention to maintenance and police resources there," said Bonin.

The city has added more police officers on bikes and foot, and is planning to close off some areas to prevent vehicle access, as well as adding street lights and cameras, and rehabbing some of the art and bathrooms.

The plan has been contentious with the Venice Neighborhood Council, who says the cost of operating the cameras would be too expensive. They've also given input about the types of barriers used to block off the boardwalk. But say they are in favor of adding police on the ground.

People we talked to had mixed reaction about the plan.

"I don't necessarily feel that it's necessary," said Venice resident Christina Defelice.

Venice resident Phi Do says he thinks it's always a good idea to have security.

"I would love to be able to come here during the day, or even in the evening. I personally would feel a little bit safer," said Do.

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