Fox News’ Lawrence Jones reported on the deteriorating conditions in California’s iconic tourist hot spot Venice Beach amid a surge in homeless encampments, telling “Fox & Friends” Thursday that the situation “is only getting worse.”
Jones, who was in Venice Beach on Wednesday and saw the situation first hand, spoke to both residents and members of the homeless community who set up tents in the area.
One homeless man told Jones that he lost his child and fiancé in a drunk driving incident and started resorting to drugs, noting that he injects himself with “clean” needles around 32 times a day.
“Are you afraid that one time when you shoot up it’ll be the last time?” Jones asked.
“No, I’m not afraid,” he responded. “If it happens that I die, maybe I can finally see my kid.”
Another homeless man told Jones he was living on Venice Beach on and off for approximately five years.
“I think people get comfortable,” he told Jones. “The programs from our neighbors – from feeding us and giving us nice clothing and making sure we stay neat for them…people get comfortable, ’cause I did.”
Some residents blasted city council members for the homeless problem.
“If I was a councilman, I would be down here right now talking to you, talking to these people, saying, ‘What are we going to do about this?’” one resident told Jones.
Another claimed that “the city councilmen have allowed them [the homeless] not to have a rock bottom.”
“They are living in such a secure, comfortable situation,” she told Jones. “Everything comes to them.”
Residents in Los Angeles’ coastal Venice neighborhood are calling for action over the homeless encampments in the area that have been connected to a string of crimes – including shootings, fights, fires and drug use.
The city as a whole is grappling with a homeless crisis that has only worsened in recent years. Over five years, the homeless population has increased by half, according to a January report released by the Luskin Center for History and Policy at the University of California in Los Angeles.
In Venice, some of the more violent incidents alarming residents and business owners include an April 28 shooting in which a man was shot but survived. Another includes an explosion earlier this month inside an encampment that caused a fire.
One fed-up resident told Jones that he lives in a building near an encampment on the beach and hears the homeless people fighting “all night long.”
Another resident told Jones, “I’ve been in California my whole life [and] I honestly feel like this is not California anymore.”
Residents noted that it will take a while for police to show up when situations at the beach escalate because “they’re dealing with so much.”
Spokespeople for California Gov. Gavin Newsom, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and Councilman Mike Bonin, whose jurisdiction covers Venice Beach, did not immediately respond to Fox News’ request for comment.
Fox News’ Louis Casiano contributed to this report.