The message is bold, and placed right where thousands of holiday shoppers can see it.
One Santa Monica property owner says its meant to draw attention, especially to city officials he blames for turning a blind eye to homelessness and crime.
Right next to a big beautiful christmas tree is that sign in big bold letters that says “Santa Monica is not safe.”
The new signage now outside an empty storefront on third street promenade is doing what the sign creator hoped.
“At first it kinda caught me off guard, wait, what’s happening here, ‘Santa Monica is not safe,”’ River Powell, a West LA resident, said.
It is getting a lot of attention.
“My first reaction was — surprise I guess. Oh, it felt quite safe here — especially on third,” Justin Look, who is visiting from Vancouver, said.
“I didn’t know if it was a store coming in soon, or a joke, or if its serious,” Stephen Cordova, a Culver City resident, said.
The message is a serious one. It reads “Santa Monica is not safe. Crime…Depravity…Outdoor Mental Asylum.”
The Santa Monica Coalition, made up with business owners, residents and renters, put up the sign at an empty storefront on Sunday, demanding the city of Santa Monica deal with the homelessness and crime it says is plaguing the promenade and downtown.
One of its leaders happens to own this building and many others.
“On a daily basis, day and night, it’s an insane asylum, very sick people who need help, mental treatment, drug addicted, drug dealers,” John Alle of the Santa Monica Coallition, said.
Alle says he put up the sign with the support of 15 to 20 business owners and tenants.
He says they have all seen their business and foot traffic drop. He blames what he says is the city of Santa Monica’s inattention to the homeless crisis.
“Imanage property all throughout LA, from Boyle Heights to Macarthur Park. And this is probably the worst in terms of crime and drug addiction and people just laying on the streets sick,” Alle said.
But the city in a statement Monday night said it has increased patrols and hired 30 new officers this year.
As a result it says it has seen “part one crime, including robbery and burglary, decreasing even in the last ten days.”
It goes on to say “It’s sad that a small group of landlords are working against our collective success through signage at the very moment when small businesses are welcoming holiday customers.”
Downtown Santa Monica Inc., a non profit that works with the city, also sent NBC4 a statement asking for the property owner to remove the sign.
He says it will stay up at least until after the new year and he’ll move it to different locations throughout the city.
Source: NBC Los Angeles