More on OB Crime – Using the Tools to Find Maps and Charts

by on November 2, 2012 · 16 comments

in History, Media, Ocean Beach

OB Crime Report – Using the tools

Earlier in a post, we began to examine OB crime trends and hot-spots, identifying important crime maps from to help understand the recent crime spike and to improve crime awareness and prevention efforts throughout OB. We also examined online statistics from which indicate OB crime was slightly lower, overall, for August 2012 compared to August 2011.

Despite the data for August, we know there are way too many crimes in OB lately. As we’ve shown, crime maps built from data collected between January and October, 2012 reveal trends and hot-spots, such as the hot zone surrounding the bars downtown.

Of course, the most reported incidents are Alcohol/Drug-related. Additional trends which seem to be overlooked are rampant car thefts and vandalism. Hot-spots exist along Newport and at the west end of Santa Cruz and Saratoga where high crime-density consistently appears on OB crime maps. Other hot spots are located near Niagara at Sunset Cliffs Blvd.

Next, we’ll examine how a similar, smaller-scale pattern exists which demonstrate how crime is scattered along Voltaire bar-zones, too.

What can we easily learn from crime rates and trends?  We don’t need a crime system to know what’s going on: OB crime has gotta’ stop! We know there has been way too many sex crimes, assaults, robbery, theft, and vandalism . . . to name a few.

What is up, OB? Has this happened before? Let’s look for some answers and compare the crime index values available from going back to 2008.

We know the OB crime index for August was average for the 5 years, and the 2012 August Crime Index of 49 is lower than August 2011 at 54. What about other years?

Based upon crime statistics for SDPD, reported crime for OB is about the same, today, as it was five years ago, as shown above. The 2012 August Crime Index of 49 is about the same as the 2008 August Crime index of 50.

But OB has seen some other big crime spikes over recent years. For example, statistics show several crime spikes occurred in 2008 and were much higher than what we’re experiencing, today.

What does this say about crime in OB? How does this compare to other years?

The September 2012 crime reports from may shed more light when the SDPD data becomes available over the next week, or so. In the mean time, examining the crime index for recent years has revealed some darker truths surrounding OB’s history of crime.

Still, the crime index is a more general guide to understanding local crime, and the crime index is not the same as examining actual crime rates.

The Crime Spike of September 2008

More than a spike, 2008 proved to be a highly volatile period in OB’s crime history. Again, using the statistics we noticed the July 2008 index of 53 was followed by an August 2008 crime index of 50 (about the same as August 2012). We note the August 2008 index was due to reports including 2 Rapes, 1 armed robbery, 1 strong armed robbery, 5 assaults, 7 burglary, 15 total thefts, and 11 car thefts.

But the September 2008 crime index jumped to 62!

The crime index jumped to 62 in September 2009, up from 50 in August 2008.

What about other months in 2008?  2008 was a volatile year, and the best way to demonstrate is using the crime tables, as crime data for these other months show, below.

The first part of 2008 showed signs of volatility, as February 2008 saw a spike to 55, up from 43 in January. But the index was back down to 44 in March. Next, the July Crime Index total was at 53, up from 45 in June and a low of 33 in May, 2008. April, too, was a low of 34.

OB crime was at a true high point during the last half of 2008. The jump for September 2008 was due to reports of 3 rapes, 3 armed robberies, 13 total burglary, 27 total thefts, among 14 car thefts. . . All this in a single month! In Ocean Beach!!

The October index would fall back to 49, but for November 2008 the crime index would rise back up to 55.

OB Crime Index Values: 2009 – 2011 (June to December)

With online tools, you can always ask additional questions or obtain more data and information. But, it is important to focus on answering some basic questions, and examine the results.

For comparison, the following tables include OB crime index values for June through December, between 2009 and 2011. In summary, both June 2010 and June 2011 show a high crime index of 61. Contrast that with the one-month low for December 2011, with a crime index of 32.

OB Crime Index Values: June to December, 2009

OB Crime Index Values: June to December, 2010

OB Crime Index Values: June to December, 2011

Scatter patterns reveal Voltaire hot-spots

As we’ve seen in a previous article on OB crime rates, the scatter patterns shown on crime maps are useful tools to identify crime hot-spots. As previously reported, Newport is a hub for crime, when incidents are measured on the crime map over longer time periods.

Recall, for Newport and surrounding areas, incidents appear solidly on crime maps which depict crime activity over extended periods. Specifically, crime maps show incidents spilling over from Newport Avenue. Heavier patterns exist along surrounding areas and parallel streets along Santa Monica and Saratoga, forming a most-active crime zone.

Another hot-zone is less obvious but appears when incidents are mapped over time. A consistent number of crimes appear along Voltaire, with a similar pattern which can be observed on shorter-term maps for Newport. Voltaire exhibits similar crime tendencies, though on a smaller scale and variety, as when compared to Newport crime areas.

Crime legend and map icons for Voltaire Street

The following maps and reports include icons which are described on the following website:

Examining the scatter pattern over time, clearly Voltaire’s bar districts show crime increases, and spill-over onto neighboring streets. At each point along Voltaire, where bars and liquor stores are scattered, incidents seem to radiate. This general emissions pattern extends from the West of OB, and on out into the far-east side of Ocean Beach.

Snapshot of crime incidents since Jan 2012 reveal Voltaire hot-spots and trends on a smaller-scale and with similar patterns seen for Newport Avenue bar zones. Along Voltaire, crime maps tend to display more black icons depicting areas which experience a high-density of crimes (Legend:

Alcohol/Drug Related and DUI – #1 offenses on most crime maps

The lavender needle icon appears on crime maps and reports, indicating the single largest crime incident reported across the city of San Diego. These are alcohol and drug related crimes. While the list of crimes in OB is wide-ranging, and includes a large number of overall crime categories, clearly alcohol and drug crimes persist, and these incidents make up a majority of OB crime.

Octoberfest Crime “spike” – Friday the 12th was a violent day in OB

Obviously there are way too many violent and weirdo crimes, from the two stabbings that occurred over Octoberfest weekend, but there was more to it. The weekend and leading up to Octoberfest in OB saw all variety of “sex crimes”, including assaults. But how much crime are we experiencing and how much worse has it been lately?

The recent Octoberfest seems to have proven a real catalyst for crime, as the detailed crime data indicates. It is no wonder many local OBceans complain about rising crime, when the week leading up to the events, and the weekend saw spikes in several serious categories. But the more detailed crime reports provide a more important story, and may point to the causes behind the crime trends over the Octoberfest weekend.

Using some simple internet tools, we can quickly learn more details about local crime trends and hot spots. For example, it seems readily apparent how crime statistics showed some sharp spikes surrounding the Ocktoberfest weekend.

Seven crimes were reported on 10/12/12 in OB data shows seven crimes were reported on 10/12/12 in OB. Doesn’t sound like many but seven crimes in a single day is fairly high for OB, relative to other recent days. But each crime appears to be in an over-spill area from Newport Avenue, though this is somewhat speculative.

What’s interesting is the diversity of crime on this day. These seven incidents include a variety of crimes, each spread out around town and committed as multiple, separate offenses. Of course, we know of the first stabbing which occurred on Friday night, but more general crime was going down all over OB throughout the day including theft, assault, and sex crime. We know, too, the violence continued throughout the weekend.

Crime maps lag behind real-time incidents

Finally, we’ve seen how online tools are useful for determining trends and hot-spots, but all tools have limitations. When evaluating crime rates and trends, it is important to understand each of the tools, and how to use them to obtain consistent reports.

The crime map shows 7 crimes reported for OB between 10/26 and 10/30, 2012 (Legend:

Examine the report and you’ll identify basic information reported for each incident.  Notice, too, the most recent sex crime has NOT appeared, yet.  These maps have limited purpose and use for evaluating crime, and crime data updates are somewhat slow to appear. For this reason, follow-up is crucial before communicating crime reports to OB.

For example, the recent Sex Crime should appear in the next few days. OBceans know the recent attack on a young woman occurred inside her OB home last Sunday at 5:45am.  Sample crime map:

{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

Deb November 3, 2012 at 10:43 am

Just went to the Post Office today. There is a sign in the drive way asking people not to use the area as a toilet. Too much crime and disrespect.


Kenloc November 4, 2012 at 6:50 am

Instead of protesting the next Starbucks that tries to open here,perhaps that energy should be put toward the next bar that tries to open here.If not,get used to the crime thing.More bars,more crime. Ironic that coffee shops are protested but people will readily let bar owners open new doors without a second thought,as long as it isnt a corporation.Wake up and look what they are doing to your neighborhood.Already have a pawn shop,now we need a couple of gun stores and you’re in the full on ghetto.


Deb November 4, 2012 at 6:48 am

Good suggestion but no need to bash trying to ban corporate chains. You lead the way Kenloc on the bar and liquor store issue and I others will follow you.


Kenloc November 4, 2012 at 8:12 am

Not trying to bash,to just saying perhaps more attention should be paid to the type of business rather than the name on the sign.(Male Enhancement storefront?Really?)How many liquor stores and bars can open in a 3 block area? Everyone hates evil Starbucks,but I don’t know anyone that doesn’t like the way they cleaned up that corner of Newport.I personally dont go there because I don’t like their coffee,but I see many folks in there every day.
The fight on more alcohol related businesses is a good one,but sadly it will have to be fought without me.I have a family here and we are moving out of OB after 12 years.Too much crime and disrespect going on. Turning into PB without the nice houses.I’m sure more people will be making this exodus,replaced by people that don’t mind the current crime rate I suppose.On and on it goes,where it stops,noone knows.


chris dotson November 4, 2012 at 12:56 pm

And this is the real issue, how OBceans are forced to cope with common lack of respect from “tourists”, and the ignorant and criminal elements which follow. Stopping assholes who think OB is a place where you go to trash or steal or rape woman is going to stop. Its in our roots to react as a community and take back our streets. To know you’ve been forced to move ur family out of OB due to recent crime trends, as you say, is a wake up call where and why we really must fight hard against losing more OBceans and their families.

OB is a place for community, not simply a place to take spring break! OB is where we live, work and play. Join the OB crime watch and rally around families who are feeling so threatened they cant live here.


chris dotson November 4, 2012 at 11:25 am

Liquor licenses have been a long time issue for OB, and controlled. Beer and wine is another story.


Deb November 3, 2012 at 10:57 am
Steve November 3, 2012 at 2:02 pm

Nothing in these stories should be alarming, they sound like normal OB stuff you hear about from time to time.


Deb November 3, 2012 at 5:51 pm

Good to know that I should not be alarmed when someone out of no where bites me on the face, or steals my money or poops in my yard and that this is the norm and I should just suck it up becuase its OB. You do the same Steve!


Steve November 4, 2012 at 10:56 pm

I have been sucking it up. Over the past few years, I heard a story about someone trying to rob one of the jewelry stores on Newport during a Farmer’s Market and he was caught and beat up too. I’ve seen a homeless women in the coves by Santa Cruz Ave. take a piss and who knows what else do her stuff around one of the rocks. I’ve seen too many drunk people pissing in yards on the way home from the bar to remember. I’ve also seen a naked guy high on drugs standing on top of a broken street light right in front of Shades in the middle of the afternoon causing a commotion before. The “Facebite” is a new one and very strange and not cool. The rapes and groping is very disturbing however. I’ve seen and heard of the weirdest stuff happen in OB the last 7 years, so when I hear of things like someone getting their face bitten randomly, it’s not that shocking. It’s disturbing, but not shocking.


Goatskull November 4, 2012 at 12:38 am

At least the thief in the second story here got caught and beaten up (sometimes violence is good) and the money returned.


Debra November 3, 2012 at 11:13 am

I couldn’t agree with you more about the lack of respect that people around here have for one another. From the increase in violence, tagging other people’s/public property to stealing $1.49 Solar Lights from neighbor’s yards. (Really? You can’t afford your own?) I attribute it to the downturn in the economy and houses lost to foreclosure, now filled with renters who don’t give a crap about anyone or anything. I am thoroughly disgusted by the trashiness of my fellow residents.


chris dotson November 4, 2012 at 12:00 am

As noted in a prior article on OB Crime, there are No surprises! OB Crime is centered around Newport , and too many crimes of opportunity to say the least! The more crime incidents we see, the more i agree with the citizens patrol for awareness and prevention, and supports a common desite for establishing a presence in our front yards and neighborhoods, showing respect for OB and all obceans, and expecting in return.


Deb November 4, 2012 at 6:53 am

Crime map ….listed new rape

RAPE – 5100 BLOCK MUIR AVENUE San Diego Police 11/2/2012 7:10:00 PM


Kenloc November 4, 2012 at 8:14 am

Nothing to be alarmed about,ladies.
Isn’t that right,Steve? Just normal OB goings on.


Steve November 4, 2012 at 10:49 pm

Those links I was referring to never mentioned any rapes, duh.


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