Venice has long been the bohemian heart of L.A., a crossroads of art, music, surfing, cuisine, and pot smoke. It's as laissez-faire as laid-back as SoCal gets. Except last weekend.

Police were out in full force following three previous weekends of violence on the sand and near the boardwalk. The crackdown resulted in a number of arrests and citations that was three times the amount cops would see on a normal spring weekend, LAPD Sgt. Patricia Suarez told the Weekly.

There were 194 misdemeanor arrests and three felony arrests along the beach and boardwalk on Saturday and Sunday she said.

This after a task force of officers hit the area in response to the recent violence, which included fights and a stabbing in the Venice drum circle on the sand and the critical shooting of a young man near Ocean Front Walk.

The LAPD sent in the troops, including officers from its elite Metropolitan Division.

“We definitely made some noise and made some people aware of us out there,” she said. “That might help us out in the future on the beach.”

Fifty-nine people were booked into jail, Suarez said.

Many of the arrests and citations involved minor allegations such as having an open container of alcohol, smoking on the beach, having a dog that's not on a leash, she said. Some folks had warrants.

Suarez said she expects the special enforcement to continue for upcoming weekends.

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