‘Why I Started the Ocean Beach Neighborhood Watch ‘

by on February 5, 2018 · 23 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.

{ 23 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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Avatar 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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Avatar 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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Avatar 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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Avatar 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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Avatar 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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Avatar 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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Avatar 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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Avatar Michael Davis February 8, 2018 at 3:57 pm

Geoff,
AGREE 100%

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Avatar Paul July 11, 2018 at 8:01 pm

Good answer. Well thought-out and factual, unlike the fear-mongering and people who just like to harass others who they feel are not like them.
some people want to own Ocean Beach and kick out the very essence of what ocean beach is!
please ..if that’s the way they want to be they should be going down to Palm Beach.FLA!. Sunshine, quiet,, and no crime….because everyone is 80 years old.. they shouldnt have much to complain about ..LOL
OB was surfers and artists and beach life long before it was ‘discovered’ by wealthier people who want to control it and kick everybody else out as if they have a right!
please if they feel they want to clean up a beach and make it nice again they’re welcome to go to Venice Beach. They Need some help for sure!
Oh and as for the OB neighborhood watch, please do what your intended little group is supposed to do Lookout for Neighbors houses and stuff don’t think you own the parks iand dig beach ..putting flyers on Vans, with threats of Towing. and harassing people ..that will come to an end, if it continues by suing the control freaks who think they have a right to harass people

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Avatar 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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Avatar rick callejon February 7, 2018 at 10:36 am

OB needs more surveillance cameras.

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Avatar 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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Avatar rick callejon February 7, 2018 at 1:09 pm

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

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Avatar 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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Avatar Paul April 22, 2019 at 5:26 am

Well written, Michael.
Again it is refreshing to see someone who speaks with an open mind and a caring concern and compassion for OB in the people, respectively, who reside there, will there be in a million-dollar home or a van, simply Having a rich husband or a lot of money from a cushy job should not entitle someone to control a town and decide who gets to live there and who doesn’t based on salaries or ability to make over six figures, I would vote you into town Council and everyone else out any day, you don’t hide behind self- bloated fairy tale stories of your past and point fingers, unfairly, that everyone that doesn’t fit into your circle of friends, as does the person who is on the Town Council and also running a neighborhood watch that doesn’t do much for anybody that I have seen in four years of traveling here other than break laws and illegally cross people and give fireman hot dogs and a few policemen play remember her, this is not any kind of charity it is self-fulfilling selfish ego Behavior Maybe the next step is run for president and all homeless people and you don’t agree with her medical term black people in other people as well since that’s probably not her circle if ‘acceptable’.
Thanks again for your comment I just saw it and may God have mercy on people such as the writer of this half fictional Fairy -TALE.

CHEERS-

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Avatar 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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Avatar Tiffany August 22, 2018 at 9:14 am

I agree with Paul. Harassing people who are not bothering anyone is harassment, period. You can’t generalize and assume everyone is shouting and/or using needles. From what I understand, a lot of these drug problems began in San Diego. Do something to make life better for all. Why are people having to sleep in cars? Rents are ridiculous! Geez, what about the airplane noise overhead. I can’t even hold a conversation with friends in Ocean Beach. “Hang on a second, can’t hear you until that plane has passed.” Practice random acts of kindness instead of assumptions. Don’t be “permit patty”!

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Avatar Paul April 22, 2019 at 5:20 am

Thank you, Tiffany for your well thought out and written comment, They simply harass people they ‘don’t connect with or have no choice to lice in their vans, etc. Due to disabilities and HIGH CIST IF RENT.
If they want to make an improvement there nonprofit laughably called, will be better off helping secure housing for the homeless people with people who actually choose that lifestyle without making judgment, and allowing them with a freedom yet keeping the streets cleaned and it is still a very safe place the other exaggerations are simply too instill fear getting hot dogs to fireman and policeman doesn’t make I got profit very worthwhile putting illegal parking stickers on people during the daytime during open legal hours is illegal, that’s what her people do and shine spotlights on people in the park late at night from there are three story houses, this was a Bohemian area long before it was the little yuppie Ground Zero. This do-gooder is trying to make it out to be and say as it always was lol, this was a serf and hippie and bodybuilding Bohemian lifestyle easy-going atmosphere since the 60s I got more popular now the rich get richer and the poor get arrested, blamed for everything, stuffed into jails and institutions, do the people like this, not only is the Riverwatch laughable cuz they don’t do anything that is constructive, where’s my fish should not be on the Town Council it is conflict of interest since he’s doing illegal activities by putting tickets threatening Towing on people’s cars and writing down license plate numbers and threatening tickets that are of no value but yet they seem to think they have some Authority, anyways thank you Tiffany it’s a refreshing breath of air to see someone who still has common sense and empathy rather than ego and self-interest, such a seams as the leader of this vigilante group, OB NW ( Ocean Beach Nearsighted Whiners)

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Avatar bobo April 22, 2019 at 2:31 pm

Paul, I take exception to your comment.
First; you don’t live here (travelling to OB via Vermont to Alaska). Therefore, you’re in no position to understand or negate the experiences of those who do and are impacted by travelers trashing our streets, taking up what little limited space we have, bringing in crime, drugs and problems.
Second; we understand the differences between the truly economically and/psychologically homeless vs. people who want to travel as a lifestyle and live for as free as possible. The real problems we have are with the travelers. Yes, some are great people. So what? They still take up scarce parking. They still put a lot of stress on and compete for scarce resources that would be otherwise helping the truly homeless.
What are those scarce resources? Police, water, sewer, garbage, street repairs, donations to the homeless, outreach programs, the loss of valuable business revenue from tourists, etc. etc. etc. You might paint your lifestyle as some kind of “bohemian” Utopian world where you peacefully coexist with nature and your fellow man, but did YOU ever ask your fellow man how he/she feels having you live on a street that was engineered, build, and maintained as a roadway? Or our parks? Or our beaches?

Imagine tens of thousands of Californians descending on your quaint little Vermont town because they suddenly decided they wanted to live there and pay nothing. Imagine 50, 60, 80 giant RVs parking on your neighborhood streets. Dumping garbage, playing loud music, freaking out kids and moms in front of the school, sitting on the sidewalk and not moving out of the way. How would you feel? What would you do? Seriously? This is an honest question. Have you ever put yourself in our “yuppie” shoes?

For years, I wanted to and couldn’t afford to live in coastal California. You know what I did? I waited, worked hard, saved, invested, and legally found a way to live here. What I didn’t do was move here with no place to go and expect the good people of OB to look the other way while I parked my bus in front of their house and caused problems. Want to be a good neighbor? Pay to live here like everyone else. You can’t afford it? Do what I did. But until then, there are cheap, safe, and nice RV parks outside of Yuma that would love to have you…

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Mercy Baron OB Mercy April 22, 2019 at 5:20 pm

Bobo agree with all you said. And I love that you know how to use a period. Lol.

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