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For many months, transients have hunkered down in front of the Albertsons supermarket at 2235 University Avenue in North Park. They panhandle for change and sometimes fall asleep on the sidewalk.

After contacting the Albertsons corporate office, I received an email on June 14 from loss prevention district manager Koby Dumas, who offered this reply: “Please accept our sincere apologies for the inconvenience you may have experienced in respect to the transients that hang out at this location. We are looking into this opportunity and working on a solution.”

Lilia Rodriguez, external communications manager for Albertsons in Southern California, said by phone June 15 that “it's a challenge” dealing with the problem. They get many complaints from their customers at other store locations, she said.

Nikki Berdy, president of North Park Community Association, said by email, “I think the transient problem has gotten worse everywhere due to the economy.”

On June 15, I spoke with Belinda Cobb, tagged “Person in Charge” at the Ralphs on 1030 University Avenue. How does Ralphs manage to keep the panhandlers away, while Albertsons cannot? “It's because we have security here in the center,” Cobb said.

As for hiring security, Albertsons’ Rodriguez said the North Park store management has “all options on the table.” Store personnel must be careful about ordering transients off the property, she said, "because we don't want anyone to get hurt.”

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Comments

SanCarlosGuy June 16, 2011 @ 8:02 a.m.

It's really a shame that Albertson's after the money it spent on renovations can't do a better job securing it's property for shoppers. A guard would be a visual reminder to transients that all are welcome to shop without being harassed. A guard may also reduce their losses to shoplifting and help their employees and customers feel safer.

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dwbat June 16, 2011 @ 8:13 a.m.

It's also a sanitation issue, as the transients have dumped trash and half-eaten food behind the water-dispensing machine, and on the sidewalk in front near the entrance. Obviously this draws roaches and rodents.

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dwbat June 30, 2011 @ 3:53 p.m.

I've been observing the North Park Albertsons every day since my story appeared, and have seen NO homeless on the property. Why?--The store now has a security guard.

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dwbat Aug. 8, 2012 @ 12:50 p.m.

The homeless have returned, as Albertsons no longer has a security guard. A store employee told me today that they cannot afford it. The supermarket chain is in big financial trouble, and so is their corporate owner, Supervalu.

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dwbat Aug. 16, 2012 @ 11:02 a.m.

Today I stopped a shoplifter at this store. He grabbed a big handful of game tickets from underneath an unused cash register. I happened to be right there. So I yelled at him he couldn't do that, and he put them back, saying "I thought they were free." Then he walked out of the store. I told a store employee about it. She said he's in there all the time; no doubt he's stealing whatever he can get.

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dwbat Sept. 5, 2012 @ 5:54 p.m.

Today Supervalu/Albertsons announced that about 19 Albertsons in SoCal would be closed. The list didn't include any in SD.

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