The West Hollywood Sheriff’s Station has launched a major effort to deal with complaints about crime in the city’s nightlife areas. Lt. David Smith said the Sheriff’s Station has formed a team of one supervisor and three deputies who will walk the streets in the Boystown area on the city’s Westside and in the area on the Eastside near the Gateway shopping complex.
The foot patrols in the Boystown, area, which includes most of the city’s gay nightlife establishments, will take place from 9 p.m. to 4 a.m. on every night but Wednesday. The area covered by the deputies will run along Santa Monica Boulevard from Hancock to La Peer and include Robertson Boulevard, which is home to gay establishments such as The Abbey and Here Lounge.
The foot patrols on the Eastside, conducted one night a week, will cover La Brea Avenue to Fountain and also Santa Monica Boulevard to Poinsettia Place on the west and Romaine Street on the north.
The increase in nighttime patrols is a response to a number of recent attacks on employees of or patrons of the city’s Boystown bars and nightclubs. The most controversial of those attacks occurred on Memorial Day weekend when Kirk Doffing, a West Hollywood resident, was assaulted after an apparent confrontation at Rage, a gay bar on Santa Monica Boulevard and San Vicente. Doffing was punched several times and fell to the ground, fracturing his skull, which left him in a medically induced coma for several weeks. The attack on Doffing prompted dozens of residents and friends of Doffing to appear before the city’s Public Safety Commission and the City Council to demand that it act to improve safety in the area. The Sheriff’s station released an image of Doffing’s alleged assailant yesterday and deputies are walking the streets to distribute copies of it, Smith said.
Another attack occurred in the early hours of Monday morning when Jose Segovia, a model and go go dancer who also is known as Joe Sego, was assaulted on Santa Monica Boulevard near Rage. Segovia didn’t report the assault, allegedly by several African-American men, until several days after it occurred.
Mayor Lindsey Horvath and other City Council members have raised concerns privately with Capt. Gary Honings, who heads the local Sheriff’s Station, and City Manager Paul Arevalo, about the incidents.
Smith said the increased patrols will be funded with a small increase in the city’s 2015-16 fiscal year budget for public safety services, for which it contracts with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. The Sheriff’s Station continues to maintain an entertainment policing team which involved deputies in patrol cars patrolling all nightlife areas. “Their focus is to work with the businesses, know all the managers, spot trends in crime,” Smith said.
Smith said that while the station has been criticized because some deputies return to the station at 2 a.m., the hour when bars close, to complete paperwork at the end of their shifts, in fact the West Hollywood station also has an 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. shift.