Concerns and Questions about Crime in Ocean Beach: Crime Map of Last 30 Days

by on October 17, 2012 · 25 comments

in Civil Rights, Popular

Ask around.  It does seem like there’s an uptick in crime around Ocean Beach, doesn’t it?

Or at least, we seem to more aware of it.

The sexual assaults, the peeping tom, and now all these assaults and stabbings around Newport Ave, the Pier, and Oktoberfest…. There’s been so much concern of late, that an OB Citizens’ Patrol has been formed, and has been out on its rounds in northwest late-night Ocean Beach.  Fliers are circulating warning women not to walk alone at night.

Our community nerves have been shaken. Our antenna are out – and some of us are more aware.

So, we took a look at the crime in OB, specifically, the crime in OB over the last month. Checking out the series for the village, we reprint a couple of their maps below (tip o’hat to SD Reader).

Each icon stands for a different type of crime.

  • SC  = Sex Crime
  • F = Fraud
  • needle = Disorderly conduct with drugs or alcohol
  • mask = Residential burglary
  • spray can = Vandalism
  • Car split = Vehicle theft or break-in
  • fist = Assault
  • head mask = Robbery w/ weapon

When you go to the site itself, you can click on the icons for a little more detail, like which block, etc.  The following maps are for the time period September 15 – October 17, 2012.

Crime in OB from 9/15/12 – 10/17/12. (Remember our map above is not inter-active, but the original is.)

For a closer look at the area right around Newport Ave, see this:


{ 25 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar chris dotson October 17, 2012 at 12:44 pm

This is an important question. Even one assault on a woman or robbery, etc is too much, and this morning we have another! Facebook users should check out the group, “OB Crime Watch”.

I’d say Sex Crimes (SC) have spiked in OB and I will join efforts to raise awareness and help others interested in crime prevention through awareness. But Ive been getting mixed reports from long time obceans on the broader question: less or more crime in OB, in general? One buddy laughed and said “it used to be much, much worse”, pointing to how all things are relative or proportional.

Another key question is, why all the assaults on women? e.g. Today’s assault on a 25-year-old woman while walking along Ocean Front Street between Del Mar and Coronado Avenues, link to article:

Are these copycat crimes? Crimes of opportunity?
Since the Saratoga peeping tom, ive been using the same site, along with a scanner app, simply to learn more facts behind all these reports. Again, even one assault is too many, imo, and Today’s assault has got me fuming again!

The assaults on women, stabbings, robberies, etc. are clear motivation to do some monitoring and research and attempt to correlate what “facts” are available. Even today, from a single posting, we’ve learned more about the Saratoga peeper incidents which may shed light on the reported facts at the time. article link:

Using the crime map, I have been posting key incidents to the OB crime watch page on Facebook. But using these tools requires more research, and it isnt straight forward.
e.g., The crime map you attached must be incorrect, and Ive been waiting for it to be updated. For instance, the recent stabbings do not appear, even though the website indicates they keep the map up to date dynamically using various databases:

“Crime data is extracted on a regular basis from each department’s records system so that the information being viewed through a Web browser is the most current available. This data is always verified for accuracy and all address information is generalized by block in order to help ensure privacy is protected.”

Again, even one reported incident like this is too many, and SC’s have spiked in OB. However, Based upon the crime map’s larger view, OB is not the center of crime in SD, which seems evident simply listening to a sdpd scanner. In fact, based upon long held beliefs and rumors, i expected OB to be way ahead in terms of drug related incidents. Still, this map view isnt designed for spotting trends and doesnt allow for population density and other factors. To examine trends, you need to install Silverlight on windows.


avatar Dan Shay October 17, 2012 at 1:24 pm

A young man was stabbed near the pier in OB on Friday, 10/12/12, around 8:00 PM.

But this crime is not on the SDPD crime map. Why is that i wonder?

Good reporting Frank! I would not have noticed otherwise.


avatar chris dotson October 17, 2012 at 2:05 pm

Both stabbings should show up on crimemapping . l . ive been waiting.


avatar qsonfu October 17, 2012 at 1:58 pm

glad I don’t there anymore.


avatar qsonfu October 17, 2012 at 1:59 pm

don’t live*


avatar Dan Shay October 17, 2012 at 2:19 pm

Me too, but it seems like The San Diego Police Department, at the Instruction of The San Diego District Attorney, manipulates crime data and does not investigate crimes against the homeless or alcohol related crimes.

The stabbing on Friday, 10/12/12 at 8:00 pm was prior to the one on Saturday, 10/13/12, so it should be there. But it is not.

I also know for a fact that at least one other violent battery was reported to the SDPD to have occurred at Narragansett and Bacon, but on the SDPD crime map they have it on Newport. So this is the second confirmed manipulation of Crime Data by the SDPD or someone else. Maybe the reporting officers alter the location on the Police Report, or maybe someone at the department alters it before submitting it to ARJIS. I suppose I could get the police reports.


avatar chris dotson October 17, 2012 at 10:18 pm

Thanks, Dan, for helping clarify the actual number of stabbings. Based on recent rumors, the count has INCORRECTLY grown to three. A key comment you posted here and from another article sticks out, too: “The District Attorney . . . has a policy of not investigating “bar crimes”, yet 40% of crimes in america involve alcohol –
OB SDPD Detective Tom Jacques told me about the DA policy in July, 2012.”

Immediately, I was reminded of a recent transcript I was reviewing from a older OBcean – he was raised in OB since before the great depression. His comments described how the OB Town Council was formed (their first meeting was above an old grocery store, named Favor’s, I believe). The OBTC was formed specifically as a grass roots effort to thwart an attempt to make OB a designated “combat zone”, which is an area where crime is allowed to occur as a way of consolidating crime to one specific area. At the time, OBceans formed the OBTC to organize and prevent this, as had been done in 1960’s Boston where a combat zone was, per wikipedia:
“. . . centered on Washington Street between Boylston Street and Kneeland Street.
The name had a double meaning in that it was an area known for crime and violence, but also in that many soldiers and sailors on shore leave would frequent the many strip clubs and brothels in uniform giving the streets an appearance of a war zone.”


avatar dave rice October 17, 2012 at 10:39 pm

Sorry it’s unrelated, but I just wiki’d that article and found a noteworthy tidbit:

“State Representative Barney Frank made a name for himself in the mid-1970s as a political defender of the Combat Zone. Frank’s district contained neighborhoods bordering the Zone. Frank took a libertarian view on vice, bucking the consensus that the area needed to be cleaned out. In 1975, Frank introduced a bill that would have legalized the sex-for-hire business but kept it quarantined in a red light district, which would be moved to Boston’s Financial District.[2] [3] The Financial District was not populated at night, unlike the areas abutting the Combat Zone.
Frank was not the sole voice recommending that The Hub maintain The Combat Zone. Many in the hospitality industry believed a red light district was essential to attracting conventions to Boston. George W. Romney, father of future Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, was one such proponent.”


avatar chris dotson October 17, 2012 at 10:48 pm

Dave, how timely it seems your posting is/was! Tx!! Wonder what others, especially women, think about a Romney who was raised in a house supporting a red light district, but in their own town?


avatar chris dotson October 18, 2012 at 1:36 pm

Key excerpts of crimes reported 10/11-10/17. The three assaults appeared today, so seems there is a lag in when certain crimes are reported, which reenforces the belief of some the data are manipulated before posting. The pier stabbing doesnt seem to be referenced but may be an example of how the on-scene report is taken:

*****10/17 2:05am, 2100 blk of bacon
assault with deadly weapon not a firearm
****10/16 6:10pm 4800 blk of newport,
assault with deadly weapon not a firearm
10/16 11:20am. 4800 blk of Niagara, petty theft
10/15 8:40am vandalism, more than $400, 4800 blk of newport
****10/14 1:07am. 5000 blck of newport
assault with deadly weapon not a firearm
10/13 6:15pm, residential burglary, 4800 blk of cape may
****10/12 7pm, sex crime other, 4800 blk west point loma
10/12 8pm commercial robbery, no weapon, 4800 blk Niagara
10/12 8:29pm 5000 blk Niagara, Robbery other, weapon used


avatar Bud Pillsbury October 17, 2012 at 2:29 pm

The po-po was out in force this morning at the park next to the lifeguard tower lot. Three cop cars with five officers to wake up the homeless from their illegal slumber.


avatar colin drane October 17, 2012 at 4:08 pm

I can see the value in sharing this crime information with the community. Until earlier this year, my company,, was mapping all available crime in the San Diego region. We had been manually pulling data from an old system for five years. The new system that you have posted specifically prohibits the press from writing down the data and reporting on it. It is likely that by just posting the images you have – you are violating the terms of the new mapping system.

Why would any police department allow a vendor paid to make the data public – prevent the public and the press from sharing this vital crime data?

Colin Drane – Founder – /


avatar Frank Gormlie October 17, 2012 at 8:30 pm

Excellent points Colin. Thanks for sharing this insight from “inside” the industry. Information is information – and information that can help save people from injuries or loss has even more value – and cannot or should not have a price on it.


avatar Steve October 17, 2012 at 8:27 pm

That part of OB isn’t called the “Warzone” for nothing.


avatar chris dotson October 17, 2012 at 9:54 pm

The assault this morning was in South OB, not the DMZ/war zone.


avatar Steve October 19, 2012 at 7:45 am

I was looking at the map, not speaking specifically about the boob grab.


avatar Dan Shay October 18, 2012 at 11:17 am

Wow Chris, Dave and Collin – I knew nothing about “Combat Zones” or why the OBTC was formed or how ARJIS is a private vendor and the press has restricted access! It is all starting to make more sense now. There is clearly a policy to make/keep OB a “Combat Zone”. And violent crime in the US rose 18% in 2011 which makes me wonder how much it rose in OB over last year. It makes sense that a Combat Zone would see even more of an increase. We have restricted access to the records, so we can not even do the math ourselves! I feel like I am in Russia. We need help from a higher power. I wrote a letter to The CA Attorney General and their office here in SD responded, but will not investigate. I am going to send a follow-up letter now that we have more information. The SD Mayor must also condone this policy, so he wont help. Maybe we need a Proposition? Maybe we need to appeal to Jerry Brown or The FBI or all of the above? How do we get rid of Dumanis? Lets see what happens in the local elections. This may just be the beginning of violent crime increase in OB. It will get far worse if DeMaio is elected. He will cut taxes and funding to the SDPD. What crazy new policies will they come up with then?


avatar colin drane October 18, 2012 at 12:37 pm

Dan – I would agree that a higher power needs to recognize that using a vendor to restrict sharing of public data is a poor use of resources. In my view, the decision to privatize crime data in the region shows ignorance of the internet. This data wants to be shared.

We just mapped a news reported incident in Alpine yesterday of an elderly gentlemen trying to lure kids into his car. I am at a loss to understand why any police department would want the sharing of this information to be restricted.

People are finding new ways to share and connect. This blog is a great example.

In light of budget contraints and recent crime statistics mentioned, doesn’t it make sense to inform the community as much as possible, and allow independent blogs like this to share the information without the threat of a lawsuit?

We just mapped this reported assault from the OB Crime Watch page:


avatar chris dotson October 18, 2012 at 12:49 pm

Colin, interested to know your take on how , or TheOmegaGroup, was formed and managed such a close alliance with national agencies. As you are their direct business competitor, i suspect u also have further insight regarding their contradictory claim:
“Our goal is to assist police departments in reducing crime through a better-informed citizenry. “. At first glance, it seems like they are living up to their motto, as anyone can view their website. What do paid subscribers recieve that the general non-paying public does not? I am only a novice user of the site and have yet to install silverlight to exract reports and trends. Tx for your valuable insight!


avatar chris dotson October 18, 2012 at 12:54 pm

also, was the alpine incident investigated? Can u provide an example of how it was suppressed by law enforcement, as you mentioned, as well as your own public link?


avatar colin drane October 18, 2012 at 1:14 pm

My experience is that when any for profit company (including SpotCrime) is given sole monopoly control of a public asset (in this case crime data), there is a potential for that company to exploit the monopoly for gain at the expense of the public. Not allowing the press to republish crime data seems to conflict with a better informed citizenry. I’m including this blog in press category. I would criticize any company who says they have the public’s interest in mind, but act in a contradictory fashion by limiting the reach of the data they are paid/contracted to distribute. However, the real onus is on the public agency to be fair with the public data not the vendor.

Since we don’t bill any police agency for mapping crime, I would not say we are competitor. We do send over 5 m. crime alerts monthly, and more people visit our crime maps that any other crime mapping company by a factor of 2.

This is less about whether the vendor should have the data, and more about everybody having equal and fair access. LAPD uses the same vendor, but recently made a feed open and available to everyone. The more people mapping and distributing this data the more likely the citizenry will be informed, and because we and the press distribute the information without billing the police agency, it is likely costs will remain low.


avatar Dave October 18, 2012 at 3:04 pm

For the past 6-7 weeks, I personally and alone have been “patrolling” Surf Check Alley, the Pier, and Niagara as I live on Niagara. I am tired of all of the sirens, helicopters, and transients who make our block their trash can, home, and bathroom. I have called SDPD on 911 and non emergency line at least ten times in the past 6-7 weeks, and their response has varied. Regardless, I am armed with a Police Scanner and a flashlight, and nothing more. I am not there to stop crime, but I have been at the ready to call Police when I see a crime.

If anyone else is interested in helping in that area, or even others, I am more than happy to assist and vice versa. Thanks!

Dave on Niagara


avatar Dan Shay October 18, 2012 at 4:28 pm

When we look back at the history of OB, especially in the very detailed and enlightening posts under About The OB Rag that Frank Gormlie wrote, we see a huge pendulum swing in SDPD policies. In the 70s apparently the police were very active in OB and committed all kinds of violations of the law. I guess reform finally happened and it seems like their attitude now is that of Arnaud Amalric – “let God sort them out”. Why does it have to be one of the extremes? Budget crisis I suppose. Police all across America would love to bust these violent criminals. They would enjoy it. But not The SDPD… Not in OB…. For now at least.


avatar chris dotson October 18, 2012 at 5:12 pm

While I would agree the boundaries and extremes are being tested, it doesn’t seem like one or the other, as you suggest. In fact, monitoring real-time crime using scanners, and awaiting results on crime map sites, combined with research has revealed that OB is not the center of all SD crime, reported or otherwise. Rather, its More like the ebb and flow of rising and falling tides, as none of this takes the clear-cut path of the pendulum when new alliances and groups arise out of older, failing channels.

These are important distinctions in a world ever more reliant on sound bites and data points susceptible and prone to false positives, such as rumors flying around town, as well as a mutual reliance on all available resources – grass roots, individuals, groups, businesses, first responders, law enforcement, internet – to compile the facts and quickly communicate valid information to a widening audience and concerned citizenry.

For examples how we must remain focused and diligent, working smart and working harder to exercise all paths and avenues, please look to home page for two articles i have just submitted and will appear soon online regarding sex offenders as well as an update on the recent assault on a young woman. Additionally, I will submit a third article which examines limitations of our modern resources, in an effort to better distill facts from emotional fiction.

Since it is important, i am compelled to add a portion of one update to the recent attack: SDPD has a prime suspect in custody and are calling for any and all information, as noted: Again, if you were near the 1600 block of Ocean Front Street anytime that morning before 9am, Wednesday, police are requesting that anyone who may have seen the attack or might have any information and may have seen someone matching the description to immediately contact the San Diego Sex Crimes unit by calling 619-531-2210.


avatar chris. dotson October 19, 2012 at 12:04 am

UPDATE: Police strongly suspect they have the assailant in custody, and the man was released from prison only last Monday. Some stressed further, all indications he is likely to continue as a repeat offender. ****Lt. Stone strongly urged us all to ask are own OBcean families and friends to ensure anyone unaware of the 8:40am Wed. attack on Ocean Front and the assailant being held awaiting witness identification.


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