The Santa Monica Police Department has responded to three stabbings and a total of five knife-related crimes in the past four days with police saying they are already planning to increase patrols in the area.
The first incident occurred on Monday, Oct. 24 at about 9:30 p.m.
A witness said an unknown man with what looked like a stab wound to his stomach area had approached him at the corner of Ocean and Colorado asking for directions to the nearest hospital. The injured man walked away from the witness and officers began searching the area.
Eventually, officers found a man outside the Ken Edwards Center on 4th Street who had two small stab wounds to his torso area. That victim was uncooperative with SMPD and refused to provide any information on his situation. He was transported to a local hospital with non-life threatening wounds but is not believed to be the same man who had initially asked for help.
Then on Tuesday, Oct. 25, SMPD Officers were dispatched to Capital One Cafe (401 Broadway) at about 4:45 p.m. regarding a man brandishing a weapon. Officers immediately arrived on scene and detained, Steve Allen Wilson a 56-year-old homeless man, that was holding scissors. SMPD officers learned, prior to their arrival, Wilson went into the business and threaten to stab the security officer and the patrons inside. Wilson was arrested for criminal threats and the knife was recovered and booked as evidence.
On Wednesday, October 26, at about 12:50 p.m., SMPD Officers were dispatched to what originally was reported as an armed robbery at 332 Santa Monica Blvd.
A suspect entered the T Mobile store on the Promenade and began “acting hysterical and asking for help.” When contacted by officers, the suspect pulled out two knives and barricaded himself in the back of the store. Members of the Crisis Negotiation Team (CNT) responded and were able to talk the man into surrendering.
In that case, the man did not threaten to harm anyone other than himself and he was transported for a mental health evaluation.
Another stabbing occurred on Thursday, October 27 at about 2 p.m. on 4th street between Colorado and Broadway during a robbery. A man was lying on the sidewalk holding a bag when a second man approached him and tried to steal the bag. During the altercation, the victim was cut on his hand and the suspect fled on foot. Officers were on scene within a couple of minutes and were able to arrest the suspect at the corner of 5th and Colorado.
SMPD Sgt. Erika Aklufi said the department already has plans to increase patrols in the area.
“We’re already going to be increasing our number of officers in the downtown area for the holiday deployment that starts in a few weeks,” she said. “We’re also going to be permanently increasing the number of officers assigned to the downtown unit with our next deployment that starts in January.
SMPD has deployed other additional officers downtown in recent months including a bike patrol deployed in the area to support officers already stationed there, reassigning the neighborhood resource officer to the Promenade and a transit detail to address safety concerns at bus stops.
In August, Chief Ramon Batista said those efforts had reduced overall calls for service downtown while increasing arrests by about 30 percent.
Sgt. Aklufi said the department continues to see an impact from its increased patrols despite the recent rash of incidents.
“We’re noticing it’s made a positive change having more officers down in the area, everyone down there has noticed a positive difference.”
Crime rates have been on par with last year according to figures released by SMPD.
Serious crimes, decreased by nine calls year on year for the first six months of 2022. Less serious crimes, increased by 8 percent or just over 100 calls with almost all of that accounted for in simple assaults.