Elite Security guards are now patrolling O.B.'s streets, the result of a partnership between the O.B. Mainstreet Association and the Ocean Beach Hotel's Steve Grosch, who is helping to manage the project.
Over 80 merchants are participating in the three-month pilot program. Security personnel will work in "four hour shifts, five times a week," stated Grosch.
He said the patrols will be looking for people doing anything illegal, including loitering on private property, blocking sidewalks, or aggressive panhandling.
Grosch wanted to make it clear: "…[We] are not targeting homeless, we're targeting bad behavior. We're already getting good feedback on it. Our goal is to make O.B. even more family-friendly than it already is. Even the police are onboard and are letting the Elite team use the police trailer in the pier parking lot to store their bikes, take notes, and use the bathrooms there."
Eventually, the association would like to expand the patrols to other areas of O.B., such as the Voltaire business district.
Denny Knox, executive director of the O.B. Mainstreet Association, said, "We have over 500 members, some don't have storefronts. There are over 100 on Newport Avenue. Some donated more than others and some are not merchants, but locals that wanted to join in. We're already seeing less complaints."
Knox said the patrols were instrumental alongside police during the recently successful “Mallow Out” campaign that aimed to curb the amount of marshmallows thrown and trash left behind after July 4th fireworks.
Grosch said, "They are one of the biggest security companies in San Diego. There's a reason you see them at the Del Mar Fair and Petco Park. They go through extensive background training. We are using the same four guys, which is good for consistency. At the end of the three-month period, we will be able to track how well it's working and we hope to expand hours and geography."