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Venice Update

News of Venice, CA and Marina del Rey CA

“Jim Richards Day” is 18 October

(Photo courtesy of Wikipedia) James Edwin Richards

(Photo courtesy of Wikipedia)
James Edwin Richards

October 18 is “Jim Richards Day” in Venice.

This was unanimously designated as such by the Venice Neighborhood Council October 2008, according to Stewart Oscars who brought this to the attention of the Venice Update lest Venetians should forget.

James Edwin Richards was shot dead in his driveway 18 October 2000 at the age of 55.

“As a neighborhood activist he captained a Neighborhood Watch and worked to eliminate crime, drug dealing, gang activity,” said Stewart Oscars. “He also published an online newsletter called, “Neighborhood News.”

His neighborhood newsletter focused on crime in Venice, which was mainly in the Oakwood area at the time. Wikipedia says:

Richards was known for reporting what he had heard on crime scanners, visiting crime scenes—often arriving first—and investigating criminals and even photographing drug deals for Neighborhood News. The Neighborhood News published a listing of crimes, such as shootings, drug sales, thefts, and vandalism.

Ruth Galanter, councilwoman at the time said Richards’ killing was “a straightforward assassination.” Galanter said Richards’ stance and activism against crime had made him a highly visible obstacle to crime elements and attracted many enemies as a result.

Police believed that there were two assailants. Police said his murderers waited for him and shot him several times in his driveway after he returned home in his camper van from a workout at an all night gym around 4:15 am. There were no convictions but two suspects later were arrested for other crimes and sentenced to prison.

Richards came to Venice in 1969 and settled in the Oakwood area in the 700 block of Vernon. He had an undergraduate degree from Ohio State and a masters degree in Business from University of California, Berkeley. Wikipedia claims he established himself as a house painter, property manager and real estate agent but his anti-crime newsletter is what made him a beloved member of the Venice community.

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