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Crime Driving Residents from Parks, Transit, Poll Finds


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By Jorge Casuso

April 3, 2024 -- A monthly poll of "civically engaged" Santa Monica residents found an overwhelming majority avoid using City parks or public transportation due to crime and drug use.

The Santa Monica Pulse survey of some 130 residents conducted from March 29 to 31 also found most respondents blame crime and homelessness for the American Film Market's move to Las Vegas.

It also found strong support for amending the City's noise ordinance to address loud protests staged by the hotel workers union, according to the poll conducted by Eyes on 11, a hotel union watchdog.

The poll tapped into a debate sparked by a narrowly approved City Council resolution denouncing LA County's needle exchange program in public parks ("Council Majority Denounces Needle Program in Parks," March 22, 2024).

Nine in ten respondents said they had reduced their "usage of city parks, public transportation, or both out of a concern for crime, including drug use."

The resolution was approved after the County rejected repeated efforts by the City, as well as individual councilmembers, to move the program run by the Venice Family Clinic indoors.

The monthly poll also asked what factors led to the departure of the American Film Market after 33 years in Santa Monica ("Santa Monica Loses Lucrative Film Market," March 10, 2024).

The poll provided three choices -- public safety, noisy protests outside hotels and increased travel costs. Respondents could choose more than one or write in a response.

Public safety -- which includes "crime and homelessness" -- was chosen by 86 percent, followed by "noisy protests outside hotels," which was chosen by 37 percent. Increased travel costs was chosen by 16 percent.

"Of those who wrote in a response, many cited overdevelopment, loss of local retail, and high taxes as possible reasons," according to Eyes on 11.

Mayor Phil Brock cited Santa Monica's high hotel rates, along with concerns about crime and homelessness, and the ongoing protests as he main reasons for the move.

The market drew more than 7,000 participants from 70 countries during its annual week-long stay and pumped more than $20 million a year into the local economy.

The poll also gauged support for an item placed on the March 19 agenda by Brock and Councilmember Lana Negrete to tweak the City's noise ordinance that was pulled for lack of support.

The amendment would "prohibit excessive noise as it may affect City residents in their homes" by including "time restrictions, reasonableness limits, and objective decibel limit standards," according to the item.

Asked if the City Council "needs to address excess noise in residential neighborhoods," 73 percent said yes, 14 percent said no and 13 percent were "not sure."

As with previous polls, the latest Santa Monica Pulse poll was sent via text to residents who "previously opted in to receive more information on education efforts surrounding crime and safety in their city." It had an 13 percent response rate.

Those who wish to be included in the next poll should email their name and cell phone number to

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