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Unsafe Streets
Los Angeles

Documenting the Impact of Homeless Addicts and the Severely Mentally Ill on the Community



The Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) reported that there were more that 2,700 arrests of homeless people for assault in 2018, and nearly 2,500 assault arrests in the first 9 months of 2019, just in the central LA region. More recent data has not been released.

November 2022

A homeless man grabbed a knife from the kitchenware section in Target, and stabbed a 9-year-old boy who was shopping with his mom for a video game. A 25-year-old Korean flight attendant intervened to protect the boy and was herself stabbed. The attacker was shot dead by a store security guard. Both victims were hospitalized with serious injuries.

October 2022

Yohance Sharp, a homeless man with schizophrenia and a history of assault, went on a stabbing spree, attacking 8 people over three days. One of the victims died while others were hospitalized with serious injuries.

October 2022

Jonathan Cole, a homeless man, stabbed a 24-year-old woman with a pair of garden shears in the head while she was walking on the sidewalk. The victim was hospitalized with a traumatic brain injury.

September 2022

A nurse was arriving for his shift at a hospital when a homeless man stabbed him repeatedly in the neck.

July 2022

A woman was standing on the sidewalk outside a restaurant where she had just had lunch with friends when Semeon Tesfamarian, a homeless man, hit her in the face with a metal pipe.

May 2022

A homeless woman threw lighter fluid on a 70-year-old man on the train and then lit him on fire, causing extensive burn injuries.

March 2022

A 46-year-old man was walking on the sidewalk when Timothy Meirs, a homeless man, tackled him and stabbed him repeatedly in the face and neck.

October 2021

A 37-year-old woman was leaving a pilates studio when Alexandra Diaz, a homeless woman, hit her in the face with a metal pipe.

September 2021

A family was having a picnic on the beach when two homeless men approached and attacked the father with a machete. The victim was airlifted to the hospital with disfiguring wounds including to his face and lost an eye.

August 2021

A man was working at his cart where he sold churros when Michael Ramirez stabbed him repeatedly, leaving him hospitalized with wounds to stomach, back, arms, and legs.

June 2021

A 61-year-old man was performing on the Venice Beach Boardwalk when Macio Harger, a homeless man, punched him and knocked him unconscious.

May 2021

A mother was at the park with her two young children when Brianna Hallquist, a homeless woman, stabbed her in the chest.

August 2020

Two men were waiting for the bus when Thomas Ward, a homeless man, attacked them with a metal flashlight. When one victim fell to the ground, the attacker stomped on his head repeatedly, putting him into a coma that lasted several weeks.

June 2019

A woman was sitting in her parked car after dinner out with friends when Jere Blessings, a homeless man with schizophrenia, pulled her out of the car, dragged her into the middle of the street, and poured a bucket of hot diarrhea on her head.

March 2019

Lenrey Briones, a homeless man with a criminal history, went on a spree of attacks over several weeks, slashing nine people in the face with a knife. Seven of the victims were permanently disfigured.

December 2018

Albert Davtyan, a father of two and small business owner, was walking on the sidewalk when Garrett Boldt pushed him in front of an oncoming box truck. The victim was hospitalized in critical condition and required multiple surgeries.


September 2022

Steven Daniel Magdaleno, a homeless man with previous arrests for sexual assault, followed a 16-year-old girl into a grocery store’s restroom, locked the door and attacked her. Employees heard her screams, unlocked the door, and subdued the attacker until police arrived.

September 2022

Victor Hugo Vega, a homeless man, assaulted an employee at a health spa and then pulled out a gun and attempted to sexually assault her.

July 2022

In a local park, homeless man Mark Gentle followed his victim into the bathroom, pushed them against the wall and covered the victim’s mouth when they tried to yell for help.

July 2022

A 44-year-old woman was walking her dogs late at night when Darrell Waters, a homeless man, tackled her from behind, punched her repeatedly in the face, and raped her. The victim's nose was broken in four places, cheekbone shattered, both jaws broken, and several teeth knocked out, requiring multiple surgeries.

June 2022

Manuel Avila, a homeless man, was panhandling when he approached a 17-year-old girl and sexually assaulted her.

March 2022

Two homeless men, Robert Nunez and Jaomir Perez, forced a 14-year-old girl into a garage where they tied her up and raped her at knifepoint.

March 2022

Alexis Armando Cruz, a homeless man, asked a 67-year-old woman for money as she was walking to her parked car. When she refused, he knocked her to the ground and attempted to rape her. She was able to escape.

February 2022

Gabriel Hodges, a homeless man, assaulted and attempted to rape two women in separate incidents. Police apprehended him at LA's Central Library branch.

January 2020

A homeless woman was lying unconscious in a pool of her own vomit on the sidewalk outside a store in Venice when a homeless man ran up, pulled down her pants, and raped her.

March 2019

Allen Dante Villarreal, a homeless man, knocked a 22-year-old woman unconscious as she was heading to her car, and then raped her. He was accused of raping a 17-year-old the previous year.

March 2019

A 60-year-old woman was waiting in a subway station and asked a homeless man for directions. The man lured her to a stairwell where he strangled, punched and raped her.

June 2018

Dylan James Jensen, a homeless man, broke into a 60-year-old woman's home, took a knife from the kitchen, then went into her bedroom where she was sleeping and raped her while holding the knife to her face.

January 2016

Pablo Carlos Pineda, a homeless man, sexually assaulted four women over a several month period, including one woman who was seriously injured when he hit her with a brick.

May 2015

Manuel Munoz, a homeless man, broke into a 30-year-old woman's home while she was sleeping, threatened her with a machete, and raped her.


The Los Angeles Fire Department (LAFD) responds to more than 8,000 homeless-related fires a year. More than 50% of fires LAFD responds to are caused by homeless people, and in the downtown LA area 80% of fires are homeless-related.

October 2022

A fire started by homeless people completely destroyed a Venice home that was undergoing renovation and damaged three nearby houses. More than 100 firefighters were required to extinguish the blaze.

September 2022

A homeless man burned down Victory Baptist Church, a historic monument where Martin Luther King Jr. once preached. The fire required more than 100 firefighters to extinguish and several were injured.

September 2022

A homeless man set a string of fires in dumpsters around Santa Monica, which firefighters were able to prevent from spreading to nearby buildings. The fires were set behind two churches, a doggy daycare, several businesses, and a seniors apartment building.

August 2022

A homeless woman committed suicide by lighting herself on fire at noon near the merry-go-round in Griffith Park, a popular destination for families and home to the LA Zoo.

August 2022

A homeless man terrorized a LA neighborhood, setting fires and causing tens of thousands of dollars of damage in vandalism by cutting residents’ electrical and cable wires, breaking water pipes, and even climbing on roofs to destroy solar panels. Police refused to hold the vandal in custody because the crimes were misdemeanors.

August 2022

A fire started at a homeless encampment burned four acres and shut down the 105 and 605 Freeways for over two hours.

April 2022

A commercial building in the Fashion District caught fire and required 100 firefighters to respond. The fire was likely caused by the homeless encampment in the back alley, which was responsible for a fire that destroyed three businesses in the building just two months prior.

January 2022

A homeless man was arrested for setting a parked BMW on fire in downtown LA.

December 2017

The Skirball Fire burned 475 acres, destroyed six homes and damaged 12 others, caused the evacuation of nearly 700 homes and an apartment building, shut down the 405 Freeway for several hours, and required more than 250 schools as well as local colleges to close for several days. The fire was started by an illegal cooking fire at a homeless encampment.

June 2016

A homeless man set a fire in a vacant building that killed five other homeless people living there. The transient started the fire with malicious intent and was convicted of murder.

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