Thanks to Andrew Cockburn for sharing this message from Police Officer Deon Joseph:
TO MY FB FAM AND FOLLOWERS. SAY A PRAYER FOR SKID ROW TONIGHT
Please keep the Skid Row in your thoughts and prayers. It has truly become a health and safety issue. This past month there were so many stabbings. Some were reported. Others not reported because the people are afraid to do so.
I’ve seen too many bloody victims this week alone. I had to try to stop the bleeding of a man who was stabbed in the lung and liver, over a question about a tent. A young woman and her boyfriend were beaten with a tire iron. A man got into an argument with some gang member and was stabbed in the back.
A woman was was robbed by two female gang members, and as she reported it to the police, a male gang member allegedly pointed a gun at her to try to keep her silent. She told me she was so afraid to leave her hotel room that she had not bought groceries for two weeks or been able to wash clothes. I had to buy her detergent and two weeks of food to last her until she could be relocated.
That same criminal beat another woman because she did not want to be with him anymore.
Fights are breaking out over tents. Women are being sexually assaulted in tents when they try to buy drugs, and because of the restrictions in enforcement now, we can’t stop the tents that are the breeding grounds for these kinds of crimes.
A 60 year old man was found dead in a tent. Maybe if someone could have seen him, they may have been able to save him. To add insult to injury, as he was dead, others ransacked his tent, and stole his property instead of calling for help.
Just last night as I was leaving work after a long work week, I see a woman bleeding from the back of her head, from being struck with an unknown object over a verbal dispute. She was a new face. There was blood on the station walls, and all down her shirt and neck. The shock in her eyes was telling of how bad things get when the homeless., become above the law.
There must be order. With no order, there is no recovery zone. If there is no recovery zone, there is no recovery. We have to put teeth back in the laws so we can create a safer environment. What is happing now is failing them, and many other communities as encampments begin to spread in other parts of the city and county. Not because of the weather. (We have always had nice weather.). But because Skid Row has become so dangerous and unpredictable, that many homeless don’t feel safe there, even thought there are resources there like shelters with services.
This is why they are popping up in other communities. Because skid row is too dangerous to be homeless. Many were told that now you can come to LA and be homeless, and no one could touch you. But they come to skid row and get touched by the criminal element.
The mentally ill population is growing, and they are becoming more unstable due to the environment and dual diagnosis (being mentally ill and addicted). It is so hard to watch their conditions exacerbating right in front of my eyes.
To other cities in the county and places across this nation, please do not dump your homeless or mentally ill problems in Skid Row. It is not safe or humane to do so.
If you have a loved one in Skid Row, please go find them and get them out. Skid Row is truly no place to be homeless.
I cannot begin to tell you how frustrating this is as a first responder. When you know you can fix this, but your hands have been tied so, that all you are left with is being visible to try to stave off the crime, but cannot be there all the time because the level of criminality won’t allow you stay in one place for a long enough period of time to make any impact.
Prop 47, and AB109 has emboldened criminals like I have never seen it before. They know we can’t send them back, and as a result, they know they have almost free reign over the community members they victimize.
This is not a message about me giving up, I won’t ever do that. it’s just showing you would many don’t want you to see and won’t report.
So you will know what to pray for tonight.
I just wish I could just have two hours on the state capital floor to inform them on what is happening. That is my biggest prayer. Not to accuse them, but to inform them on the reality of skid row and homelessness. We have to stop politicizing this issue and do the real work from a truth based foundation.
I at least thank you all for listening. God bless.