LAPD Launches New Effort to Fight Crime Along Venice Boardwalk

People visiting the Venice Boardwalk may notice an increased police presence, after the Los Angeles Police Department assigned a new bike patrol to the popular tourist zone.

venice-boardwalk

Venice Boardwalk (File photo)

The patrol, which includes ten officers and a supervisor, will cycle around the boardwalk and surrounding areas to look for vending violations and other potential problems, according Sgt. Brian Gura of the LAPD Pacific Division.

“Bicycles can get into tight areas that a car can not,” Sgt. Gura said.

The patrol operates from mid-morning to the evening hours each day, according to Sgt. Gura.

The crackdown began on Jan. 26 and was originally reported by Venice 311.

On Friday, the Pacific Division posted a Tweet letting residents know there would be more officers in the area.

The increased enforcement followed a series of high-profile crimes at the boardwalk, which attracts 16 million visitors each year, according to the Venice Chamber of Commerce.

In August, a tourist from Italy was killed when a driver plowed into a crowd of pedestrians on the boardwalk.

Alice Gruppioni, 32, from Bologna, Italy, was visiting Los Angeles for her honeymoon when she was killed, her family said.

ALICE-GRUPPIONI

Alice Gruppioni, 32, was on her honeymoon when she was killed in Venice.

She and 11 others were struck on Aug. 3, by a dark-colored sedan, according to Los Angeles Fire Department spokesman Brian Humphrey.

Gruppioni’s husband, Christian Casadei, was with her and suffered cuts and bruises.

A transient, identified as Nathan Campbell, 38, was arrested a few days later, according to the LAPD.

Sources said Campbell had possibly been living in his car.

He was charged with murder, 16 counts of assault with a deadly weapon and 17 counts of hit-and-run, Los Angeles County prosecutors said.

During a court appearance, he pleaded not guilty.

Homeless Man Brutally Beaten on Venice Beach Boardwalk

The attack, which police say was unprovoked, was caught on camera.

Then in December, suspected gang members brutally attacked a homeless man in the 1300 block of Ocean Front Walk (map).

A resident videotaped the attack and turned the footage over to police.

Video of the Dec. 13 incident showed a man using a folding chair to strike the victim several times.

The LAPD released the video and a suspect was arrested on January 5.

Apolinar Celestino Lopez, 30, was pulled over after Gang Enforcement Detail officers identified him as a suspect, the LAPD said in a statement.

KTLA 5’s Dave Mecham contributed to this report.