Marcos and Claudia. “We had to stop patrolling the neighborhood since covid hit.”
By the end of August, certain crime rates dropped while others peaked in parts of the county compared to March.
“I figured burglaries would be the crime that would be most affected because everybody’s home,” said Jonathan S. a collectibles mail order sales rep from south San Diego. “Unless the burglars are high on drugs, it’d be nuts to break into a home in these times.”
Matt Armstrong: "Now I can go through with just a bucket and tongs and get all the trash.”
I logged onto www.CrimeMapping.com and looked up Jonathan’s neighborhood, which is west of the 805 and down the street from Palm Avenue. The furthest date I could backtrack to was on March 12, so I checked the crimes in a 31-day span which went to April 11; there were two burglaries in his neighborhood. For the 31 day month of August, there were none.
Larceny went up from two to six in Jonathan’s neighborhood during the same analyzed periods.
“That’s because everybody’s ordering more online — through Amazon, eBay, and Etsy — because all of our brick-and-mortar stores were shut down or the poor owners had to close shop,” Jonathan continued. “That ‘six’ is a low number. On Nextdoor alone, I saw [reports of] six packages stolen in one day off of my street alone. Many people don’t make reports to the police, they just file a claim on the website they ordered from.”
According to an August article published by Forbes,: “While overall retail sales are down right now (there’s been a 21.6 percent decline from April 2019 to April 2020), online sales are bucking the trend. The National Retail Federation reports a 21.2 percent rise in online and other non-store sales over the same time period.
For Jonathan, he said he’s shipping more of his 1970s collectibles outside of our county — including bronze age comic books, records, Atari video games, and board games — at their post office across the 805 freeway. “I’ve spoken to other online sellers that drop off packages there, and we all noticed a surge in sales of tangible media. People on lockdown are tired of swiping and streaming, they want to share legit experiences with their family.”
Another crime Jonathan sees less of is “spray paint tagging” on the walls in his area. “And that’s probably because kids are not in school.”
C.M. lives about seven miles west of Jonathan in Imperial Beach. “Interesting, usually the mail [thieves] around here are the high schools …. bused in. No theft lately, I mean in months actually, lol. COVID helped that shit stop over here.”
I reached out to CM via direct message and as this article goes to print, she hasn’t replied. According to CrimeMapping.com stats of the beachfront city spanning from its fishing pier to 12th Street, crimes all across the board increased from 39 in March/April (31 days) to 50 in the month of August.
On September 7, I communicated with Claudia and Marcos from North Park. Last year, I joined their neighborhood watch excursion, and we strolled and drove through the streets and alleys, less than a mile west of the North Park sign.
“We had to stop patrolling the neighborhood since COVID hit,” Claudia said, “but we are still very much aware of our surrounding area. So if we see something out of the ordinary or if our neighbors have any issues, we will address it. Neighbors will call us before calling the cops. Police will not respond to calls that have to do with theft or car break-ins. If cops happen to be patrolling and witness a crime, then they will take action, but only then.”
Within the area of North Park that the couple patrolled, which is south of University Avenue and northeast of Morley Field, most of the crime rates increased as reported covid-19 cases skyrocketed from 35 on March 15 to 38,604 on the last day of August.
“Small businesses that are still shut down are targeted by crime and the homeless are very aware that whatever crime they commit, it won’t be investigated, much less pursued,” Claudia continued. “A lot of petty crimes from the homeless are happening more around the North Park Rec Center as well."
Vehicle break-ins and theft in Claudia’s neighborhood dropped from 13 (in the 31 days monitored in March/April) to five in the month of August.
Local auto racers, as Michael from Cherokee Point, a neighborhood that borders North Park’s east side, noticed less car thievery going on. “Selling chocolates [stolen American vehicles in Baja] is harder, because of the new registration laws there, and with the random COVID-19, military and police checkpoints in Baja, stolen vehicles are harder to pass through.”
In a CrimeMapping.com search of Cherokee Point comparing the two aforementioned time periods, vehicle break-ins and theft dropped from 23 to 19; burglaries from nine to four; and weapons charges, five to zero.
About two miles south of Cherokee Point is the Azalea Park neighborhood; martial arts instructor Matt Armstrong monitors the canyons and streets here.
“I still go into Hollywood Canyon, Pepper Canyon, and Manzanita Canyon regularly picking up trash and making sure no one is living in there and starting fires and such. I go two to three times a week and the canyons are looking a lot cleaner. I used to go in with contractor trash bags and haul the trash out, now I can go through with just a bucket and tongs and get it all.”
CrimeMapping.com states vehicle break-ins and theft dropped from seven to one; burglaries from three to two; motor vehicle theft six to three; and arson, which Armstrong is the most worried about due to our weather and dry vegetation within the canyons, was a zero in August.
“Not only is the trash [including illegal dumping] down, but the graffiti is also very low. With an occasional outburst after some weekend protests, ‘F the pigs’ was all over our bridge after the first protest, we just painted it out right away. I am worried after the pandemic and rent moratorium is over, there will be a flux of peeps trying to live in the canyons, but not on my watch.”