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Police: Venice Beach Crime Down Despite Boardwalk Brawl Caught On Tape

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VENICE BEACH (CBS) — Police report crime has decreased at Venice Beach despite an angry brawl caught on tape Thursday afternoon.

David Williams witnessed the fight unfold between an unidentified man and Boardwalk vendors.

“He was harassing the vendors.  A friend of the vendors maced the gentleman,” he said.

The suspect flipped over the vendor’s jewelry table, which caused one of the vendor’s friends to punch the man.

Williams said the suspected instigator has a history of causing problems in the area.

“There’s times when we’ve seen him screaming at people to pay for his drug habit,” he said.

Capt. Brian Johnson from LAPD’s Pacific Division said they don’t have a report from the specific incident, but claims it’s isolated.

He said the scenes are becoming less common since forming a task force dedicated to the area and cooperation from the community.

Last April, one man was shot in the head during a flash mob gathering of hundreds. A week later, a 20-year-old man was stabbed twice in the chest after a fight broke out.

“Since we’ve stepped up our enforcement along Ocean Front Walk with our new vending ordinance… crime is actually down in Venice Beach about 13 percent this year,” said Johnson.

Williams said the police have been doing their job, but understands the nature of the area.

“The enforcement here is awesome. The cops are here, it’s good, but there’s so much to keep up with on this beach,” he said.

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