Debunking The Myths About Homelessness - MYTH #1 "THE HOMELESS THREATEN OUR SAFETY"

Do homeless people really commit more violent crimes against people and property than people in homes? Find out the surprising truth about this common myth.

Hello again, fellow Venetians.


 Many thanks to those of you who went out and fed a homeless person over the Memorial Day Weekend. Chances were one in five that it was a veteran, and if not then in all likelihood it was some deserving person down on his luck.  Good for all of you!


This is the first in a series of short articles which will be published here from time to time titled "DebunkingThe Myths Of Homelessness". The topic of this first in the series : "THE MYTH THAT HOMELESS PEOPLE THREATEN OUR SAFETY".


The knock on homeless people in Venice seems to be that "they are a danger to the community". You've heard the pitch : "If we leave them on the streets, they will burglarize our homes, rob us and violently attack us. Concern for public safety mandates that we run them out of town."


It's the same old story. The wealthy and powerful in our midst take advantage of the less wealthy and powerful, and then give them a scapegoat to hate - somebody even less wealthy and powerful then they - upon  whom they can vent their frustration and rage. 


Adolph Hitler used this ploy to perfection - he exploited the fears and distress of economically depressed and politically helpless Germans in order to rise to power, and at the same time gave them the Jews as a scapegoat - a people who could be demonized as being responsible for the problems...who could be hated and persecuted while those persecuting them continued to be the victims and pawns of HItler's attempts at fascist world-domination.


Today, right here in Venice Beach,  little would-be, Hitler-like, power-mongers do the same type of thing - focusing the fears, anxieties and insecurities of Venice homeowners and residents upon those less fortunate, impoverished, homeless and jobless neighbors in our midst. "We have to get rid of them!" we are told. "They are a threat to our safety and security". 


But it just ain't so.


According to a National Law Center study on homelessness :

"Homeless people commit LESS VIOLENT CRIMES than housed people. Dr. Pamela Fischer, of Johns Hopkins University, studied arrest records in Baltimore and found that  homeless people were less likely to commit crimes against person or property."  


Is this an isolated statistic? Nope. 


According to The U S Conference of Mayors Hunger and Homelessness Survey (2006) :

" The homeless are significantly less likely than housed people to commit a violent crime."


And, The State of Maine's "Treble Street" online website tells us (April,2011) :

"Targeting the homeless population as a group of individuals to be feared has no basis in fact. Homeless people are more likely to be victims of crimes (including hate crimes) than to become criminals. In fact from 1999-2010 there were a total of 1,074 reported acts of violence against the homeless population that resulted in 291 deaths." 


Even the American Psychological Association, in its December, 2009, report titled "New Insights On Homelessness And Violence" stated :

 "Criminal activity isn't a staple characteristic of these people,".

(It is interesting to note, however that they did find that homeless people bouncing from shelter to shelter were more likely than homeless people living on the street to commit violent crimes. Apparently, getting them off the streets and into shelters doesn't increase our safety, it decreases it. The goal should be getting them off the street and into some kind of subsidized, low-income affordable housing. That's what Venice Beach's own Venice Community Housing Corporation has been doing for over 25 years, with great success.) 


Lastly, in a University of California study titled "Criminality and Homeless Men: An Empirical Assessment" (published in the periodical "Social Problems" - Vol. 36, No. 5 - pp 532-549), the authors state : 


"We are prompted to write this paper by the claim that homeless persons constitute a serious threat to life and property, frequently voiced by people who oppose the location of shelters and services for the homeless in or near their own neighborhoods…this claim is without empirical foundation."


So much for the myth that homeless people threaten our safety because they commit more crimes against people and property than the rest of us. The simple fact is, they commit LESS.


Do we really want to be pawns in somebody's attempt to demonize the homeless by playing on our fears and insecurities? Isn't it time we quit hating and started helping?


Stay tuned for the next installment in this series - "The Myths Of Homelessness".

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Spirit Of Venice June 11, 2012 at 05:05 PM
Yes, you certainly ARE "the spirit of anti-Semitic remarks" (by the way, it's "anti-semitic", not "anti-Semtic", retard). - Folks, take a look at my most recent post, entitled "What does the Bible have to say about homelessness?", and YOU tell ME if I'm "anti-semitic". - Nice try, whoever you are, but your OBVIOUS and amateurish attempt to smear me and the editor of this forum with the brush of ethnic-intolerence won't fly. People visiting this forum are way more intelligent than you think they are. They see through your cheap and underhanded attempt to use the tragedy of the Holocost as an emotional ploy to engender resentment towards those who are trying to help the unfortunate and disenfranchised in our midst, and toward those of us who are pointing out that the tactics of the homeless-haters here resemble the tactics employed by the Jew-hating Nazi propaganda machine. - "In the name of vain" huh? Speak English much? - Folks, THIS GUY wants you to hate the people who are trying to help the people he hates. Here's a better idea : - Lets stop hating and start helping.
The Truth about Venice June 11, 2012 at 07:07 PM
Spirit of Venice you have been caught with your pants down, goose stepping around Venice Patch. You Nazi loving bastard.
Spirit Of Venice June 11, 2012 at 07:40 PM
Well, I guess not EVERYBODY is going to get on the "stop hating" bandwagon. But seriously, people like this, and comments like this, really do highlight the unrelenting extremes that the hard core gentrifiers and homeless-haters will go to to distract people from the powerful truths about the reality of homelessness and the need for compassion and help to the down and out among us.
Venice has spoken June 12, 2012 at 03:33 PM
The only hate monger is the Spirit of Venice. Spreading his hate and fear through out the Venice community. He has been chased off of every blog site that has to do with Venice except this one that supports his insane agendas that exist only in his mind. Make no mistake about it he hates everone and promotes no solutions what so ever. He is a leach on the Venice community.
Venice has spoken June 12, 2012 at 03:42 PM
If the Spirit of Venice is the voice of the homeless, man they are in deep trouble. He is a babbling fool who more than likely went off his medication.
Spirit Of Venice June 13, 2012 at 05:35 AM
Just too silly to respond to. Keep up the good work everybody. People all over Venice are beginning to wake up to the insanity of all the hate-propaganda. They are starting to respond to the better angels of their nature and to have some mercy on the homeless here. That's the kind of example Venice has always been to the world, and it is good to see it re-emerging from the shadows where all the ugly, mean-spirited hate-rhetoric had temporarily driven it. Remember it is not darkness that extinguishes light, it is light that extinguishes darkness. Shine on!!!
Spirit Of Venice June 13, 2012 at 05:36 AM
This is just too silly to respond to. - Keep up the good work everybody. People all over Venice are beginning to wake up to the insanity of all the hate-propaganda. They are starting to respond to the better angels of their nature and to have some mercy on the homeless here. That's the kind of example Venice has always been to the world, and it is good to see it re-emerging from the shadows where all the ugly, mean-spirited hate-rhetoric had temporarily driven it. Remember it is not darkness that extinguishes light, it is light that extinguishes darkness. - Shine on!!!
Another WorldView June 13, 2012 at 10:02 AM
Yes Mark Ryavec - when given a chance, they (Venice), immediately rejected your breed of fear-based authoritarian bullying, in favor of the more compassionate approach of Linda Lucks. Venice has spoken indeed! It's good that you're posting anonymously Vhs (is it live, or memorex?), because you don't speak for the majority of Venetians, and they might show their disapproval personally - if they could put a name and face to your speech on their behalf.
Another WorldView June 13, 2012 at 10:06 AM
"Venice has spoken" shows that the intelligence community's artificial-intelligence internet-trolls, are an oxymoron, at least for the first half of that identifier. What kind of idiot can't follow the Spirit's words???
Another WorldView June 13, 2012 at 10:21 AM
Wow, that is the least effective attempted use of the "anti-semitism" smear that I have ever seen (and I've seen it used many times over the years, with varying degrees of effectiveness and appropriateness). Were the SPANISH FASCISTS of the Spanish Civil War (Generalisimo Francisco Franco is not dead, he is an active member of the VSA) required to check in with the "Museum of Tolerance", before choosing their politics? What about the FASCISTS of Mussolini's Italy? How about the members of the Croix de Fue in France - or the VFW-types that JP MORGAN and friends were hoping to use to overthrow FDR (until Marine Corps. General Smedley Butler exposed them)? As someone who has seen Irv Rubin of the JDL standing out front of the "Museum of Tolerance", physically assaulting people, who were rightly and peacefully protesting out front, and with the apparent approval of that institution's security guards - I can tell you, flat-out Paul, that you need to take no lessons from those people. Remarkable sometimes, how an oppressed group can assume the mantle of the oppressor, without so much as a second thought.
Another WorldView June 13, 2012 at 10:27 AM
TTaV - if the Spirit actually were "goose stepping" around Venice Patch - I have a feeling that you would have been assigned the task of running interference for him - not misapplying your own love of Nazis, as an in-apt and impotent attack, on the Spirit of Venice.
Another WorldView June 13, 2012 at 10:35 AM
Well said Spirit!!! From your mouth to Rick Feibusch's ears - he thinks that he speaks for God, as well as Venice.
Jenny June 13, 2012 at 01:14 PM
You two idiot's must get your facts and information from the Free Venice Beachead, the residents of Venice are indeed waking up to the facts that Linda Lucks and her social service mafia, day's are numbered in the Venice community. I have found the best use of the Free Venice Beachead is to pick-up the dog shit off my lawn.
Another WorldView June 13, 2012 at 01:53 PM
Wow, is that really "Jenny from the block"? I'd always heard that you were a total right-wing-nightmare - now I guess that we've confirmed the rumors. Where do you get your news from, Martha Groves and Tibby Rothman? All you need now is a thousand more little Jenny's, and then you can have the dictator that you've always wanted - Mark Ryavec. I'd wish you luck, but I don't think that would be sufficient to confuse the real venetians into voting against their-own interests, much less that of the Spirit of Venice. It's remarkable how, everytime I put the slap-down on one of the well-known stooges in our community, a (completely) new (and anonymous) poster shows up, to act as yet-another marionette for Mark Ryavec, and his unpopular little putsch for fascism here in Venice. A better-run ASTROTURF campaign would use well-established cover-identities, with a long history of posting, in order to make the posts seem more authentic.
Mark Ryavec June 13, 2012 at 02:28 PM
Let's have a a bit of transparency on this issue, Linda. If you look back at the report of the Homelessness/Vehicular Living Ad Hoc Committee that I co-chaired with Caroline Rios you will see that we recommended purchase of the Samy's Camera building for use as permanent supportive housing. You also know that I proposed to David Ewing and Jim Smith recently that all the Venice organizations jointly lobby the three county supervisors who have Venice constituencies to provide the funds to LAHSA to buy the building that Brad Neal has identified as a possible transitional housing facility. While Jim Smith replied positively, David has not replied at all. I know you desperately want to paint me as uninterested in providing housing for those living on our streets, but the facts just aren't that convenient, including the fact that as a consultant I have spent the last seven years performing management turnarounds of financially challenged affordable housing projects. I do agree with your statement that Venice residents carry far more than our fair share of the risk and hassle from the transients living here than other neighborhoods, which is why most residents want this problem solved with a combination of housing, services and enforcement. P.S. to Another World, I have never posted anonymously on this site or any other site.
Another WorldView June 13, 2012 at 02:32 PM
My apologies Mark - if I have maligned you with the words of one of your followers.
Another WorldView June 13, 2012 at 02:44 PM
Actually Mark, (and I don't see the statement from Linda, which you say you agree with) if anything Venice seems statistically to have LESS UnHoused than the statistics would suggest would be our fair share. You are also NOT allowed to speak for "most residents" since you couldn't even muster a plurality of the miniscule percentages of Venetians who voted in the VNC's most recent election - even benefiting as you did, by some very ALEC-like restrictions on stakeholder-ship, and ID requirements. I think that a better description would be that a majority of right-wingers, Realtors and self-appointed big-whigs, with whom you associate 'want this "problem" solved' .... There are plenty of Venetians who see no problem to "solve", but rather people, some of whom need help, and others who are surviving just fine without it. But as always, help that comes as an "offer [they] can't refuse", isn't so much help as it is another act of violence.
Spirit Of Venice June 13, 2012 at 02:58 PM
Worldview, I don't know where I heard it, but I have always admired this quote : "I LIKE the sound of words, but I LOVE the sound of truth". Thanks for putting some true perspective on Mark's never-ending illegitimate bid for legitimacy.
Another WorldView June 13, 2012 at 03:15 PM
Right-back-at-you, oh Honorable Spirit! I love the blog, and encourage you to continue with it. If only by the near-apoplectic rage it generates, amongst the HATERs it exposes, we have a solid metric for its truth and utility. I would encourage you to run for one of the VNC seats coming open after the elections this fall, if it wouldn't grant undue- legitimacy to that political formation.
Spirit Of Venice June 13, 2012 at 03:26 PM
Thanks, Jenny...every pin-headed, idiotic, mindless, mean-spioirited, infantile and just basically silly post that one of you retarded haters adds to an otherwise intelligent and informative conversation here is another opportunity for people who really have something CONSTRUCTIVE to offer to the community to A- demonstrate what a bunch of morons you guys are, and B-offer some more real information which will help the actual interested-persons who come here to form a meaningful and reasonable opinion on the issue. - As for your "comment" (???), all it does is demonstrate what most of us already know - that you don't actually READ what is said, you just grab the opening statement and use it as the basis for another mindless, hateful attack. - If you had actually read the article, you would KNOW were the facts and information come from, because all of them are documented as they are presented, but not to worry - you have given me an opportunity to restate the information, AND give people links to the sources. Thanks. ------- "HOMELESS PEOPLE COMMIT LESS VIOLENT CRIMES THAN HOUSED PEOPLE" - National Law Center report - Dr. Pamela Fischer, Johns Hopkins University - link ---> http://www.humanservicescampusaz.org/HSC/mythsandrealities.htm - CONTINUED
Spirit Of Venice June 13, 2012 at 03:27 PM
CONTINUED 2 - "THE HOMELESS ARE SIGNIFICANTLY LESS LIKELY THAN HOUSED PEOPLE TO COMMIT A VIOLENT CRIME" - The U S Conference of Mayors Hunger and Homelessness Survey (2006) - http://usmayors.org/pressreleases/documents/hungerhomelessnessreport_121208.pdf <---Link ---------------------------------- - "TARGETING THE HOMELESS POPULATION AS A GROUP OF INDIVIDUALS TO BE FEARED HAS NO BASIS IN FACT" - The State of Maine's "Preble Street" online website (April,2011) - Link ---> http://www.preblestreet.org/in-the-news/Myths-about-the-homeless/232/ - -------------------- - "CRIMINAL ACTIVITY ISN'T A STAPLE CHARACTERISTIC OF THESE PEOPLE" - The American Psychological Association, December 2009, report titled "New Insights On Homelessness And Violence" - Link ---> http://www.apa.org/monitor/2009/12/violence.aspx - ----------------------- - "…THE CLAIM THAT HOMELESS PERSONS CONSTITUTE A SERIOUS THREAT TO LIFE AND PROPERTY…IS WITHOUT EMPIRICAL FOUNDATION." - University of California study titled "Criminality and Homeless Men: An Empirical Assessment" (published in the periodical "Social Problems" - Vol. 36, No. 5 - pp 532-549) - Link ---> http://www.jstor.org/discover/10.2307/3096817?uid=3739560&uid=2129&uid=2&uid=70&uid=4&uid=3739256&sid=56256100623 - ----------------------- As to your ugly and meritless slam on the Beach-head and Linda, I guess if you guys didn't have worthwhile and dedicated people to ridicule, you wouldn't have ANYTHING to say.
Another WorldView June 13, 2012 at 04:23 PM
It sounds like Rick Feibusch has finally gone in for his gender re-assignment surgery. Progress will be when you reap what you sow - so I suppose THAT might be inevitable, since like the rest of the non-1%'er Venetians, you're just a few missed paychecks from being out there on 3rd st. with everyone else. Of course, since we have planning and such, nothing is inevitable - it is just a question of what is allowed, by the people of Venice, since the people who theoretically serve them, never saw a development that they didn't like. You speak with such confidence - you must be one of the hand-picked members of the VNC's newest committee - The Joe Murphy/Oligarchs Discussion Group. Congratulations Jenny, you really have arrived. Keep it up and they may do to you, what they do to Venice, so don't worry about archaic notions like consent...
Patricia June 14, 2012 at 03:53 AM
Hate to break my rule again but the best thing to do with Spirit is not engage. He is mostly talking to himself anyway.
Venice Republican June 14, 2012 at 03:57 AM
The only Myth to debunk is what is written in this article. Homeless crime is on the rise in Venice. And this site is bias to the homeless criminals in this town.
Spirit Of Venice June 14, 2012 at 06:20 PM
So, Patricia, what does it tell us about you that you cannot even keep the rules you set for yourself? Anyway, you really ought to keep this one because every time you open your mouth you put your foot back in it. - And you "KNOW" that I am "mostly taiking to" myself...HOW? - You know who is and is not reading what on PATCH? Wow. The C.I.A. needs you. Or could it be that you are the kind of person who imagines whatever scenario you wish were true, and then simply throws a switch in your mind to convince yourself that it IS true? Can we say the word "delusions"? - Two can play that game. I hereby unequivocally state that one hundred and three million people have read every post I ever put on PATCH, and have done so in the last 90 seconds. Now, who is going to challenge that assertion? I mean, I SAID it, so...it MUST be true. Right?
Another WorldView June 14, 2012 at 06:54 PM
Spirit - you're getting so god at this little game of whack-a-troll, that I'm starting to consider, going into retirement. Perhaps like Kenny Florian, I could go into color-commentary, and play-by-play work.
Spirit Of Venice June 14, 2012 at 10:46 PM
Every statement made about homelessness and crime is backed up by reports and studies from such respected and notable sources as : The U S Conference of Mayors Hunger and Homelessness Survey (2006), - the National Law Center report - Dr. Pamela Fischer, Johns Hopkins University, The State of Maine's "Preble Street" online website (April,2011) , - The American Psychological Association, December 2009, report titled "New Insights On Homelessness And Violence" and - the University of California study titled "Criminality and Homeless Men: An Empirical Assessment" (published in the periodical "Social Problems" - Vol. 36, No. 5 - pp 532-549). - This article contains no myths, merely verifiable scientific facts. - Statements such as Venice Republican's "Homeless crime is on the rise in Venice." are NOT supported by any facts in evidence, and in fact are untrue. They are made merely to inflame fears and reactionaryism in the community. Venice PATCH is not "biased", it presents all sides of the question, and as this article has PROVEN, most of the homeless in this town are NOT criminals. - So pretty much EVERYTHING said in Venice Republican's post is false-to-fact, in other words, a lie. - This is not a Republican vs. Democrat question, it is a human decency versus human hate and greed question. Which side are you on?
Rick Feibusch June 14, 2012 at 11:11 PM
I can't believe this BS is still going on - look around you - the changes are everywhere - The large hotel chains already have their properties identified on OFW - The City needs tax money - Ruth Galanter's shabby, half-hearted, prison yard makeover of the Boardwalk has degenerated into a more shabby, dirt encrusted shadow of a tourist attraction that most people over the age of 14 have no interest... I know that this must delight the squalor promoters in town, but it will be the reason that the City and the Resort corporations will use to change Venice beyond anyone's control.... And nobody has answered my original question - How many? How long? How funded? How administrated? Or does the absents of an answer mean a free-for-all forever. Love, peace and delusion.... PATHETIC
Spirit Of Venice June 14, 2012 at 11:47 PM
Blog viewers, - Let's don't let all the inflammatory hate-rhetoric obscure the simple point being established here. - Despite what the hate-and-fear-mongers want you to think, government and institutional studies all agree that : - THE HOMELESS POPULATION IS LESS LIKELY TO COMMIT CRIMES OF VIOLENCE THAN THEIR HOUSED NEIGHBORS, NOT MORE LIKELY. - Making them the scapegoats for society's distresses and problems doesn't solve the problems, and it only harms people just like you and I who are less fortunate than we...who are in greater misery than we. - We don't need to fear them or purge ourselves of them, we need to look upon them with compassion - there but for the grace of God go you or I. - Let Venice be a shining example to the world. Let's stop hating and start helping.
Spirit Of Venice June 15, 2012 at 01:38 AM
No, no, Worldview...I trust you are just joshing, whoever he is, but you provide two invaluable services to these conversations...a history of the activities and machinations of the truly virulent among those whose agenda is the destruction of the ambience which is Venice Beach for the sake of money, and many many fresh and insightful thoughts on the issues raised here at PATCH. You have been an inspiration, and you are needed. Besides, I DO have a life...well, sort of...and I SHALL avoid the tar-baby temptation to become consumed in what are often pointless and needless exchanges. We will not always get the last word, nor should we strive for that. We must trust the intelligence of our community...their ability to separate the rose-bushes from the manure. Even if the Venice Black-Ops Brigade sometimes gets the last say, they cannot control the process of evaluation taking place in the individual citizen's mind. You can't fool all of the people all of the time, no matter HOW ugly your spirit or your rhetoric. - Which is a long way of saying that I am not about to take on the job of full-time troll-bopper. We all need to share the load. - Right makes might...don't let any hard-core cynic try to tell you that that is "naive'"...it isn't...it is the truth.


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