Homelessness is on the Rise in Santa Monica

The number of homeless people living in Santa Monica is up 26% over last year, according to results of the city’s 2017 Homeless Count.

The Jan. 25 street, shelter and vehicle survey documented 921 homeless people — 193 more than the 728 people counted in January 2016.

The number of homeless people found sleeping on the street increased by 165 — from 416 last year to 581 this year, an uptick of 39%. Volunteer counters found 92 people sleeping in vehicles (up 26% from 73) and 340 people in shelters (up 9% from 312).

The majority of Santa Monica’s homeless community appears to be coming to the city from other areas — 46% from elsewhere in L.A. County and 32% from outside California, according to a city summary of 2017 Homeless Count results released this week. Demographic surveys also showed that 29% of homeless respondents had been staying in Santa Monica for less than a month.

“The significant increase since last year demonstrates that the city is directly impacted by the regional homeless crisis,” states a press release by the city. “Regional and local tax measures are coming at a time when a coordinated approach is needed more than ever.”

—Joe Piasecki

SMPD Chief Announces Retirement

SMPD Chief Jacqueline Seabrooks

After five years as Santa Monica’s top cop, SMPD Chief Jacqueline Seabrooks has announced her impending retirement on Sept. 30, triggering a nationwide search to replace her.

Seabrooks has spent 36 years in law enforcement, achieving historic firsts along the way. She became SMDP’s first African-American female patrol officer in 1982 and California’s first African-American female city police chief when she took charge of Inglewood PD in 2007.

“I am both pleased at and appreciative for the opportunity to have worked with our community,  those in municipal administration and the men and women of the Santa Monica Police Department as we collectively made Santa Monica a safer place,” Seabrooks said.

— Gary Walker

Capsized Boat Prompts Rescue at Sea

The U.S. Coast Guard and L.A. County Lifeguards came to the aid of three people stranded in the water after their 27-foot pleasure boat capsized eight miles off the coast of Marina del Rey last Saturday.

The Coast Guard received word of the distressed vessel at 4:40 p.m., responding with an MH-65 Dolphin Helicopter dispatched from Point Magu and a 45-foot rescue boat launched from the Coast Guard’s Los Angeles-Long Beach Station in San Pedro. Baywatch Del Rey lifeguards also responded.

The people on board did not suffer serious injuries, and why the boat capsized remains unknown, U.S. Coast Guard Petty Officer DaVonte Marrow said.

— Gary Walker