‘Why I Started the Ocean Beach Neighborhood Watch ‘

by on February 5, 2018 · 17 comments

in Ocean Beach

Photo credit: Nicole Ueno, San Diego Reader

Strength in Community: OB Joins Together to Fight Crime

By Nicole Ueno

Living in the same town you were raised in is a funny thing. Nostalgia is woven through each day, whether it’s walking down the same concrete stairs at my daughter’s school, or passing by what used to be an empty dirt lot where as kids we’d ride bikes and eat popsicles bought at the corner liquor store.

I’m one of the lucky ones that got to grow up in the beautiful and unique community that is Ocean Beach. It’s been such a huge part of my life story- from my childhood spent at the Big Olaf ice cream store, to working several jobs on Newport during my teens and twenties, meeting my husband in our favorite coffee shop, Jungle Java, and now raising our family here. I appreciate OB for all that it is and all that it’s given me.

When I learned of the opportunity to serve the community on the Board of the OB Town Council, I jumped at it, and it has truly shown me how involved and engaged our town is, how neighbors come together to help each other out, and how our small-town feel is really bolstered by community participation in events like the Farmer’s Market and the Holiday Parade.

Last year I started a non-profit group called the OB Families Association, which aims to support strong families in OB by putting on fun family events and workshops. We generally help support a local cause at these events, whether through collecting Mother’s Day gifts for the women’s shelter, or donating to an organization for families of wounded veterans. It’s a great way to see again first hand how caring and amazing our locals are. More events are in the works for Spring of 2018 – we’ll be hosting a series of positive parenting workshops and teaming up with the Peninsula Monarch project to plant milkweed around town in an effort to support the declining Western Monarch populations.

From sunsets to great surf to cool neighbors, there are just about a million things to be stoked on in OB. I often wonder if people in other areas feel as passionately about their community as OBceans do. Everyone I know that has ever lived in OB and then left, has left a little piece of their heart in OB as well.

But the OB that my East Coast friends hold in their fond memories is not the OB of today. The crime and general nastiness in OB has grown.

I know it’s part of our history and reputation. I have always been secretly proud of the fact that I can generally take care of myself in tough situations. I hear from a lot of people that OB’s problems used to be way worse back in the day. And that’s likely true, only in a different way.

Here’s the thing –  maybe things used to be worse, but I don’t remember it that way. I remember not feeling as afraid to walk at night. To not get yelled at for not handing out cigarettes or money. To not have people sleeping in every alley carport. To not constantly be looking at the ground to make sure I don’t step on broken glass or any other unappealing objects. When I was a child, I very rarely wore shoes during the summer months. There’s no way I’d let my kids run around barefoot on Newport or Abbott today.

So, what can we do?

I recently started the OB Neighborhood Watch (OBNW). The plan was to cover all of OB, through dividing it up to zones and having members spread out throughout each zone. We added a zone covering most of Point Loma as well, and are eager to build a closer partnership with our Peninsula neighbors.

What OBNW is about is protecting our town from those that don’t respect it. Engaging the community so we can all work together. Being vigilant and aware of crime in your area. Sharing information to keep people safer. Organizing to get more resources for our neighborhoods. If there’s a violent situation, and someone needs help, there are those who will step up and help. This is not grandma’s neighborhood watch, this is OB taking care of our own. That is essentially the manifesto for this group.

Over the next month we’ll be holding initial zone meetings and getting to know the people in our area. Neighborhood watch signs will go up, and we are looking at getting more street lights installed. One member came up with the idea of hosting CPR/First aid certification training, stemming from an incident in which she was able to save her husband with her CPR knowledge. We’ll also be checking out self-defense classes and building a closer working relationship with SDPD.

But overarching all of these things is the basic premise of getting to know your neighbors, making personal connections, and looking out for each other.

The response to the OB Neighborhood Watch has been overwhelmingly positive. There are a lot of people that are fired up about making our community a better, safer place to live. There are good things on the horizon, and I’m looking forward to working together alongside my community to fight crime in Ocean Beach.

To borrow from my favorite motto ever by CSI-OB: Cleaner Streets Initiative … We’re not talking Disneyland, just a little bit safer.

{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

Mercy Baron OB Mercy February 5, 2018 at 4:49 pm

I’m sure you meant to say paraphrase from CSI-OB, not borrow (that would be literal). Because our motto is, “We’re not talkin’ spotless. just a little bit cleaner!”

But thanks for the nod. Greg and I are pretty proud of CSI-OB!

Love what you’re doing. Don’t know how I didn’t know about that first meeting. Hope to catch the next one.

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Nicole Ueno February 5, 2018 at 6:42 pm

Thanks Mercy. I know and love the OB-CSI motto. I just tweaked it a little to fit my purposes – ha! Thank you guys for all that you do. We had a blast at the January Community Clean-up!!

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Jeremy February 5, 2018 at 8:17 pm

I’d like to help out. I care for the ob elementary garden for the last 7 years in order to create a more peaceful ob.

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Nicole Ueno February 7, 2018 at 4:05 pm

Hi Jeremy! Thanks for your interest. Please look for our group on Facebook and send a request to join.

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Geoff Page February 23, 2018 at 10:58 am

Nicole, what is the name of your Facebook page? I found Point Loma Neighborhood Watch but can’t see how to join up, is that the page? Thanks.

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OBKid February 6, 2018 at 12:58 pm

Love the idea and group…however one teenage vandal on the loose does not make OB “nasty”. I’ve only lived here for 15 years, but it’s never been nicer. Past few years have really seen an uptick in families in OB and at the beach – imo. The town is vibrant… as it should be.

The young, traveling homeless can panhandle aggressively but never scary or even physical.

My son and I walk around OB barefoot all the time – up newport, down abbot, at the beach, etc. etc. We don’t worry about glass, just all the dog poops!

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Mercy Baron OB Mercy February 6, 2018 at 1:19 pm

What proverbial rock are YOU living under OBKid?!

You must not be on the Ocean Beach Facebook group, or go to any civic meetings to think that ONE TEENAGE VANDAL is all we’re dealing with here.

You walk barefoot? Never stepped on a syringe?? Wow, you’re lucky. Btw, as cool as it is to walk barefoot, why don’t you research how gross it is what we pick up on the bottom of our shoes sometime? Never heard of the Hepatitis A virus we’ve got floating around here in OB? The city had to come in and clean our streets with power washers, that’s how bad it was. But you go ahead and walk barefoot.

Young, traveling homeless are never scary?? How about the one carrying a sign that said, “Punch me for $1.” Or the ones that yell F**k you if you don’t give them money they’re begging for….I could go on, but why? You obviously enjoy just sticking your head under the OB sands.

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OBKid February 7, 2018 at 10:26 am

Stop the fear mongering, OB is one of the safest neighborhoods in one of the safest cities.

Join a facebook group or civic meetings? No, I live in the community and am out-and-about multiple times a day. Have been for over a decade. And you?

Please stop spreading lies about the community…syringes? Just stop.

Hep A was all over the city amongst our homeless population not confined to OB. Again stop.

The arsons and vandalism – no doubt a teen(s) home from college that just learned about anarchy.

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Mercy Baron OB Mercy February 7, 2018 at 12:24 pm

OB I, will never understand that argument that a LOT of locals spew on the Ocean Beach page….”Well how long have YOU lived Here?!”

What does that really have to do with anything as long as you’re involved and care about this community and not just bitching about it all online??

But OK, since you asked. I’ve ALSO been here 10 yrs, but visiting for over 30 yrs now.

Online you will see pics locals took of syringes right on our beaches and boardwalk.

Wake the fuck up dude!

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Geoff Page February 7, 2018 at 4:53 pm

“What proverbial rock are YOU living under OBKid?!”
“Wake the fuck up dude!”
OBMercy, you need to calm down . Just because someone has a different opinion doesn’t give you the right to verbally assault them here like that. Have a discussion, change his mind with facts and figures if you don’t agree. Your approach just alienates people.

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Michael Davis February 8, 2018 at 3:57 pm

Geoff,
AGREE 100%

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Michael Davis February 8, 2018 at 3:59 pm

OBkid,
Spot on! Thank you for posting an honest view of OB.

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rick callejon February 7, 2018 at 10:36 am

OB needs more surveillance cameras.

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nostalgic February 7, 2018 at 11:41 am

Rick, you won the “laugh out loud award.” Much more prestigious than a second-handed Nobel.

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rick callejon February 7, 2018 at 1:09 pm

nostalgic, thank you very much. I’m working on my speech.

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Michael Davis February 8, 2018 at 4:10 pm

OB may need some help and more community involvement, this is true. What it doesn’t need is the broad paint brush of fear and crime, because a whole lot of us don’t feel that way. The article is well written but taking numerous events that happened over many months and condensing them into a paragraph as if its a 24/7 issue is unfair. I also don’t think we need all of these different Facebook pages all feeding the frenzy with aggressive and hateful attacks on other people’s points of view, sure not very “obish”. Like Rick said, maybe we need more cameras and I will add “less Facebook pages”. I will also point out that for a small area with so many locations to buy alcohol all day and late into the night we could be a lot worst, or maybe with less of them we would be much better off. If the area was so bad then why are the rents so high and living space so hard to find? Oh, riddle me that.

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Paul June 20, 2018 at 7:26 pm

Hello my name is Paul. I’m traveling from Connecticut in Vermont and staying in Ocean Beach for a small. Of time and then driving all the way up to Alaska today I received the green flyer on my vehicle by the ocean beach neighborhood watch that stated you’ve been parked overnight for multiple days, which is a complete lie I have never been parked in this lot overnight, they did not put this flyer on my car until this afternoon after 11 a.m. so not only are they selectively harassing people, they are COMPLETELY FALSE OR OUTRIGHT LYING… it further reads “if you park here again you be towed without notice ”
These people are went from being a simple neighborhood watch group to thinking they enforce all laws and our deputies or semi police they are not and if the city allows them to continue the city can be held liable for any damages as well as Ocean Beach neighborhood watch the members and the person who runs it, just having the most liability.

Ocean Beach neighborhood watch should be exactly that watching each other’s houses so nothing happens not driving around and harassing people and making up lies or simply being completely wrong.
This should never happen again, as they will be liable for any damages false accusations, harassment and threatening letters as well as a city for allowing them to continue in this manner.
Obie’s a great place it should be shared by all and should be watched out for by one another but not under the guise of threat and bullying and lies or even complete ignorance is no excuse.

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