“The stench by the wall is overwhelming. I barely go that way anymore. So unfair to the actual residents! Come on SDPD-DO SOMETHING,” said Tracey, an Ocean Beach local. “All the trash and sketchy/drugged out/aggressive people discourage me from going to the wall and surrounding area…I’ve lived in OB for 10 years and it has never been this bad. I actively report things and communicate with the police, and it’s just disheartening to see the state our great town is in. I don’t understand why the police can’t make it less comfortable for them so the actual citizens can enjoy the beach, parks and town.”
Her sentiment is widely shared by other long-time locals who avoid the beach area.
“Where are the police in general?,” Chelsea asks. “I haven’t seen the police foot-patrol presence in a while. Dog Beach lot and grass area has been bad too. Saw this peach of a citizen sleeping in his customized fort on Thursday. Guess who had to clean it all up Friday morning? So frustrating. Like my boyfriend says, sadly this population has completely given up on society. So cleaning a mess is the last thing on their minds. If the police actually gave tickets for things like littering, dogs off leash, public intoxication, indecent exposure or whatever, then after so many unpaid tickets wouldn’t jail be the next step? I don’t understand the 'don’t even give tickets cause they won’t pay them' justification.”
Brant Long, another long-time local who works along Newport Avenue, shared his experience:
“Parks & Rec / Park Ranger / Lifeguards / SDPD have been ignoring the backside of the wall for the entire summer. Where's the PD beach team specifically designated to handle this type of stuff? There's evident broken glass, human waste, needles, leftover drug baggies, alcohol bottles, cigarette butts, trash, and all sorts of random crap. I’ve been working along Newport for the past 4 weekends and haven't even seen PD drive by a single time. Once again this community had been (purposefully?) forsaken by the city.”
Aside from the ignored health and safety code violations strewn along the beachfront and sand, graffiti has become the norm along the seawall at Newport and Abbot Street, mediums used for this ‘art’ include chalk, peanut butter, mayonnaise, and paint.
Marc has a front row seat to the destruction, volunteering his time to clean the walkway along the seawall, everyday, but even he’s having difficulty.
“We can't even get the walkway swept with all the bodies along the wall that won't move. We had to leave two big piles of sand because there was nowhere to throw it without burying someone,” he said. “On the bright side, our lack of sweeping made cleaning up spilled paint on the walkway pretty much effortless. Maybe rubbing freshly tagged areas with sand will remove it as easily?”
So what has happened to OB?
“There was a guy this painting the whole wall with crap and food,” Randy told me. “Rubbing peanut butter on the wall, the cops came by and just rolled their eyes and said, ‘we have more important stuff to do.’”
Some locals report issues via the city of San Diego’s Get It Done app, pleading for the city to help, however, both of these reports made on Aug 10, 2019, were referred out to the Active Homeless Encampments departments and essentially closed on the website.
The entrance to the Ocean Beach Pier has become a San Elijo camping site without the fees. This is an ongoing problem that needs police enforcement. This morning, August 10 at 6:15 am there were six people sleeping on the sand on the left side entrance to the pier, with their prized possessions littering the beach. On the right side entrance, four people were sleeping on the beach – same scenario, but with a blue pup tent next to them. Can the SDPD perhaps do a late night sweep daily to help alleviate the ongoing problem?
Discarded needles, human feces, homeless camp, graffiti, all along the seawall at the beach. Police walk by and say they have better things to do.
On April 1 of this year, the Ocean Beach Mainstreet Association removed the police trailer that had been located in the OB Pier parking lot for over 20 years.
President of the association, Denny Knox, explained at the time: “We talked to the police department about it, said we’d be happy to keep it but they said things have changed, especially in the last three or four years, they all have computers in their cars, a lot of tools in their car, they don’t have to go in somewhere to write up a report and so there’s no need for the trailer and I just don’t want to put money where its not being useful, I would actually like to have something that actually helps us, but think 20 years is a long run and it definitely made a difference for us when it started but they just don’t use it like they used to…this will not affect police presence in the lot.”
According to one police officer who wished to remain anonymous, the removal of the police trailer has “embolden the criminal element in that lot.”
“It is sad and disgusting and I worry a lot that my kids will step in something,” Meredith said, “I’ve lived here my entire life and it’s never been this bad. But... this morning (August 10), as I walked by with my kids and looked at this mess, I decided to keep walking and show them the beautiful ocean and sand and pier right in front of us. Not to turn my eyes to reality but to show them all the beauty that is right in front of them if they just look…the ocean will always make me smile. “