UPDATED: Block by Block activity increased in October

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David Aguilar, the original vice president of Block by Block, stepped in for General Manager Erica Leone to deliver Block by Block’s report to the Public Safety Commission on Monday night. Aguilar’s report covers the activities of the Block by Block Security Ambassadors for the month of October.

He began by noting an overall increase in activities across multiple categories. There was a notable rise in business contacts, particularly with the approach of the Halloween Carnaval. This increase in interaction with businesses mainly involved addressing questions about street closures, with ambassadors directing people to a city page that provided detailed information. Another significant area of increased activity was in contacts with homeless residents, indicating a greater engagement with this segment of the community.

Aguilar also reported  a rise in calls for service and requests for assistance from the sheriff’s department, especially in the east side and center city areas. He emphasized that the center city area saw a particularly significant increase in activities compared to the previous months. In response to these trends, there is an ongoing consideration to adjust patrol strategies to more effectively address the concerns in these areas, focusing particularly on issues related to the homeless population.

The team also participated in a training session conducted by Healthcare in Action on the west side of town. This session provided the team with updates on resources available for homeless services and new contact information, strengthening their capability to assist this community segment.

A significant portion of the report was dedicated to detailing the team’s activities during the Halloween period. Aguilar highlighted the strong presence of the team throughout the city, with a primary focus on residential areas. The team played a crucial role in facilitating the movement of people to and from the festivities. This involved staffing pickup trolleys and the city line, which included a collaboration with teams from Hollywood and direct coordination with the LAPD. Aguilar proudly noted that there were no reported issues related to the CityLine Pickup trolley, or their teams along Santa Monica Boulevard and in adjacent residential areas.

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Addressing specific inquiries, Aguilar mentioned a request for a year-to-year comparison of statistics, promising that this data will be presented in the next month’s report. He also responded to Commissioner Nickel’s question about the issue of improperly parked scooters. He clarified that while handling these scooters does not currently take up much time, it has the potential to become more demanding. The process involves ambassadors quickly repositioning scooters that obstruct pedestrian traffic and logging each incident. Aguilar acknowledged that this is a common issue in other districts and can be time-consuming for ambassadors on foot patrol.

Finally, Aguilar touched upon concerns about the east side of the city and some vacant properties, specifically mentioning thoseSweetzer. He expressed his intention to collaborate with Erica Leone and the team to explore additional support measures, including having ambassadors monitor these areas more closely.

Commissioner Adam Eramian commended the ambassadors’ presence and efforts during Halloween in their city. Eramian inquired about whether the ambassador program is operating at full capacity. Aguilar indicated that the program is near full capacity, but exact numbers need confirmation.

Oremian raised a concern that some areas of West Hollywood, particularly around La Brea and Fountain, including the vicinity of a McDonald’s, may not be receiving adequate attention from the ambassadors. It’s mentioned that the ambassadors cover areas up to Fountain but do not extend north of Fountain on the east side of town. The discussion pointed out that some streets in West Hollywood might not be seeing patrols by security ambassadors, and Eramian requested the identification of these specific streets to ensure that they receive adequate patrol coverage.

The focus then shifted to how the ambassadors in West Hollywood interact with the homeless community. The commission suggested the possibility of including social workers in the Block by Block program, especially during the hours of 9 to 5, to assist with outreach to the homeless. This idea was proposed to enhance the services provided, drawing a parallel with the sheriff’s department, which already includes social workers.

Aguilar acknowledged the potential benefits of this suggestion but also highlighted concerns about liability, considering the social workers would not be employees of the company. Despite these concerns, the idea was not dismissed outright, and there was mention of possible waivers to address liability issues.

Aguilar noted that the ambassadors have been responsive in contacting healthcare and action teams when encountering issues with the homeless population. The ambassadors are primarily focused on foot and bicycle patrols, with limited vehicle use mainly for supervisory staff. This limitation could present operational challenges in implementing the proposed idea of having social workers ride along.

Commissioner Brandon Blau spoke about general benefits of the Block by Block program, particularly in the context of public safety equipment and city council decisions. Blau emphasized the value of having a people-oriented approach in public safety, favoring more Block by Block representatives patrolling residential areas over the installation of fixed cameras in high-visibility areas like Santa Monica, Sunset, and Melrose.

Blau raised a question to Aguilar regarding the last section of a report that listed response times for seven calls. Blau was curious about the criteria used to select these calls out of over 1,200 calls in October for showcasing response times. David acknowledged noticing the limited number of calls reported and expressed uncertainty about why these specific incidents were highlighted, suggesting they might have been more significant. He committed to following up for more detailed information.

Nickle inquired about the safety escort service, noting an increase in usage from September (41) to October (63), possibly related to Halloween. The question sought to understand the nature of these escort requests – why they were needed and the destinations of those escorted.

Aguilar clarified that most escort requests involved walking people back to their vehicles after they left businesses, though occasionally, escorts to the front doors of residences were provided, especially from areas like the Gateway Center and shopping zones. It was noted that these escorts were primarily requested at night, often by patrons leaving bars or clubs.

Commissioner George Nickle thanked Chair David for responding to a previous question about scooters and referred to a report showing 347 incidents of improper e-scooter parking. Nickel shared personal observations from a walk along, noting that ambassadors were seen relocating scooters to safe positions but questioned what happens next – whether companies like Bird or Lime are contacted to pick up the scooters.

Director Danny Rivas responded, explaining that ambassadors’ role is to relocate scooters to ensure pedestrian access, not necessarily to designated locations. They are not generally responsible for contacting scooter companies; that task is managed by a different division with contracted providers who proactively patrol and reposition scooters in designated areas. Rivas acknowledged the time-consuming nature of this task for Block by Block and mentioned feedback from residents about scooters being left in the same place for extended periods. However, Rivas commended the ambassadors for their efforts in relocating scooters, highlighting the benefit this brings, especially for disabled residents and older adults.

 

 

 

The Block by Block security ambassadors are set to present their October report at Monday night’s meeting of the Public Safety Commission. 

In general, across all regions, there’s a increase in activity in October compared to September. Business contacts showed significant growth, especially in the Mid City and West regions. Homeless resident contacts and calls for service also increased across all regions, though to varying extents. Sheriff assistance, while the numbers are small, also showed an increase, particularly in the West.

  • Business Contact
    • East: Increased from 1,056 in September to 1,244 in October, indicating a significant growth in business-related activities or interactions.
    • Mid City: Saw a more than double increase from 74 in September to 167 in October, suggesting a substantial rise in business engagement.
    • West: Also experienced an increase from 2,013 to 2,311, continuing the trend of growing business interactions.
  • Homeless Resident Contact
    • East: Rose from 236 to 321, indicating a notable increase in interactions or assistance with homeless residents.
    • Mid City: Slight increase from 64 to 71, showing a consistent but small rise in contact.
    • West: A marginal increase from 397 to 409, indicating a relatively stable level of contact.
  • Sheriff Assistance
    • East: Increased slightly from 3 to 4.
    • Mid City: Also saw a minimal increase from 2 to 3.
    • West: Increased from 6 to 9, showing a higher rate of increase compared to East and Mid City.
  • Calls for Service
    • East: Increased from 152 to 173, suggesting a growing demand for services.
    • Mid City: Rose from 37 to 43, indicating a slight increase in service calls.
    • West: Increased from 190 to 216, following the general trend of increased service demands.

 
ALL CITY SEPT OCT
Business Contact (East) 1056 1244
Homeless Contact (East) 236 321
Sheriff Assistance (East) 3 4
Calls for Service (East) 152 173
Business Contact (Mid City) 74 167
Homeless Contact (Mid City) 64 71
Sheriff Assistance (Mid City) 2 3
Calls for Service (Mid City) 37 43
Business Contact (West) 2013 2311
Homeless Contact (West) 397 409
Sheriff Assistance (West) 6 9
Calls for Service (West) 190 216

 
SANTA MONICA BLVD. SEPT OCT
Hospitality Assistance 4193 3261
Business Contact 3143 3722
Motorist Assist 0 0
Homeless Contact 697 801
Crosswalk Assistance 6 8
Calls for Service 379 437
Sheriff 9 16
Fire 12 17
EMS 8 11
Bike Miles Ridden 311 461
Scooter Imp Parking 231 274
Safety Escorts 41 63

 
SUNSET BLVD SEPT OCT
Hospitality Assistance 291 221
Business Contact 586 591
Motorist Assist 0 0
Homeless Contact 68 54
Crosswalk Assistance 86 71
Calls for Service 3 3
Bike Miles Ridden 238 279
Scooter Imp Parking 43 39
Safety Escorts 5 8
Sheriff 2 4
Fire 0 0
EMS 1 1

 
MELROSE AVE. SEPT OCT
Hospitality Assistance 14 11
Business Contact 71 63
Motorist Assist 0 0
Homeless Contact 2 16
Crosswalk Assistance 12 7
Calls for Service 6 11
Bike Miles Ridden 79 91
Scooter Improper Parking 26 34
Safety Escorts 0 6
Sheriff 2 5
Fire 0 0
EMS 0 2

 
PLUMMER PARK SEPT OCT
Park Code Violations 17 21
Business Referrals 2 5
Graffiti Removed 0 0
Hospitality Assistance 183 167
Restroom Counts 289 354
Restrooms Serviced 6 3
Social Service Referrals 23 36
Homeless Contact 97 116
Sheriff 7 9
Fire 0 0
EMS 2 3

 

 
WEHO PARK SEPT OCT
Life Guard Escorts 8 6
Park Violations 35 41
Business Referral 3 6
Hospitality Assistance 691 587
Restroom Count 289 336
Restroom Serviced 6 4
Social Service Referral 0 8
Homeless Contact 191 213

 

 
RESIDENTIAL PATROLS SEPT OCT
Park Code Violations 17 21
Business Referrals 2 5
Graffiti Removed 0 0
Hospitality Assistance 183 167
Restroom Counts 289 354
Restrooms Serviced 6 3
Social Service Referrals 23 36
Homeless Contact 97 116
Sheriff 7 9
Fire 0 0
EMS 2 3

 
KIOSKS CONTACTS SEPT OCT
La Brea 59 48
Ramada 37 25
Robertson 43 56
Sunset 8 3
Plummer Park 32 57
West Hollywood Park 58 69
FairFax 13 9

 

 

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JF1
JF1
7 months ago

“Security Ambassadors” are no substitute for police in regards to keeping the public safe. Period.

:dpb
:dpb
7 months ago

Unhoused persons ARE NOT residents. They are transient, they do not pay taxes, they’re income is generally panhandling and public defecation is not a qualification for residency. Trying to make homelessness pc is not cool. Our well paid commissioners and entitled council members need to stop with this bs. The homeless need to be removed not acclimated. Stop this damn insanity.

Paul
Paul
6 months ago
Reply to  :dpb

100%

resident
resident
7 months ago

When did “homeless people” turn into “unhoused residents”? Seems to be a contradiction in terms, and an attempt to get us used to transients and vagrants as our neighbors.

Jamie Fenton
Jamie Fenton
7 months ago
Reply to  resident

Yep. Welcome to what has been fostered.

Jim Nasium
Jim Nasium
7 months ago
Reply to  resident

Everything is a contradiction. Everything.

Cy Husain
7 months ago
Reply to  resident

Using dehumanizing terms for our “unhoused residents” makes it easier for society to accept further oppression for this group and deny any responsibility to help them. Remember this in the time of year when we celebrate the birth of an “unhoused resident” to a family of internally displaced Middle Eastern refugees victimized by western imperialism.🎄

don’t forget
don’t forget
7 months ago
Reply to  Cy Husain

Bottom line… If Hamas hadn’t, without provocation, attacked, tortured, and massacred 1400 innocent Israelis, none of this retaliation would be happening now.

Cy Husain
6 months ago
Reply to  don’t forget

Bottom line… If the west had not created the apartheid state israel starting the Nakba 75 years ago with continued ethnic cleansing and genocide of the indigenous Palestinians. Hamas freedom fighters would not have had to break out of the world’s biggest open air prison of Gaza on dirt bikes🏍 and scooters🛵 with homemade RPG7s to destroy Merkava tanks❗

merkPal
JF1
JF1
7 months ago
Reply to  resident

Vast majority are mentally ill and people with addictions and find themselves homeless due to their issues.

Cy Husain
7 months ago
Reply to  JF1

Please do consider how being displaced from your residence and made to be unhoused would impact your own mental health and, possibly a desire to self-medicate. Studies have shown that homelessness is inducing mental illness at a far greater rate than mental illness inducing homelessness ❗ If you have any doubts, ask anyone from Gaza.😢

resident
resident
7 months ago
Reply to  JF1

Why are people with addictions victims? They make their weakness our problem. Still no excuse for our politicians allowing our streets to be overrun with maniacs.

Cy Husain
7 months ago
Reply to  resident

The recent death (likely drug related) of a famous wealthy sitcom actor clearly shows how willing society is to excuse white wealthy people for their faults in stark contrast to poor minorities who face mandatory prison time. It’s right-wing republicans who insist that it’s NOT government’s place to fix street problems, it’s “free market” magic that will work miracles. Right ❓

Carleton cro9nin
7 months ago

Numbers. I never see these people. Have to hangout in more saloons, I guess.

Cy Husain
7 months ago

You wouldn’t because security and law enforcement is too busy harassing nonwhites❗

Jim Nasium
Jim Nasium
7 months ago

I thought “NUMBERS” closed.

Alan Strasburg
Alan Strasburg
7 months ago

There’s nothing impressive about these numbers except to highlight that this program is close to zero about public safety and almost all about hospitality as a form of municipal concierge. The public policy narrative that the spending on block by block represents an increase in public safety spending is a complete lie.

Public Relations vs. Public Safety
Public Relations vs. Public Safety
7 months ago
Reply to  Alan Strasburg

That is exactly how the former Weho Public Safety Director Cook interpreted her responsibilities. She believed she had a Public Relations position and simply pushed responsibilities elsewhere until she could exit unscathed and with plenty of compensation.

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