The Venice Skatepark, although only two weeks old, is already in need
of some community help. In a “damned if you do, damned if you don’t”
act of LAPD policy making, the LAPD has informed the Venice Surf and
Skate Association (VSA) that they will no longer be permitted to
perform community watch duties as volunteers at the park after posted
closing hours. The VSA is not just about helping keep the skatepark safe, they are helping all of us in Venice with their community service to help our community and those that have been disenfranchised. Part of this includes community volunteer watch over what is arguably one of the shining jewels of the community that represents Venice to the world.
The problem with this policy is that left unwatched, the skatepark
will likely become the stomping grounds of vandals and some of the
other shadier elements of Venice. The danger is that if the park
becomes a homeless campground and drugs and vandalism become the norm,
the way the city works is it will just give them a reason to fill the
park in with sand and be “done with it”, just as they did when the
homeless took over the circular benches around the old wall. The city
doesn’t like a liability on their hands, yet as of now they are
creating a liability by not providing a security person to watch the
park at night nor allowing the VSA volunteers to provide community volunteer watch at the park, much like local neighborhood watches do.
How can you help? First and foremost support and donate to the VSA,
who are the community voice of the park. Secondly, feel free to contact
your councilman and ask for the VSA to be allowed to continue as the night time
community watch group for the park until a professional security
solution can be worked out by the city. The VSA is not a security group, and the skatepark really needs a professional security person put in place by the city to keep it a safe place for the children of Venice.