Sunset Cliffs Watch Group Brings Neighbors Together – Many for the First Time

by on August 4, 2023 · 4 comments

in Ocean Beach

By Judi Curry

Many years ago the Neighborhood Watch group was quite active in the Sunset Cliffs South area.  It was started not because of crime in the neighborhood, but to allow neighbors to meet each other and share the wonderful neighborhood we live in.

Over the years the residents of the area have changed, and it has been years since there was an active “Neighborhood Watch” in this area.

Enter Rosamaria Acuna and Gary Werchak, concerned home owners in the neighborhood that have seen the need to reactivate the dormant group and bring some cohesiveness to our streets.

Times are really changing in this area, and there are many new residents that do not even know their next door neighbors! So for the past few months, Rosamaria, Gary, and I have worked together to form another group and see if the residents in the area are interested. And were they!

At the first meeting we held we had approximately 50 people show up and all expressed a desire to reform a Neighborhood Watch group.  In fact, there were several that showed up that were not part of our “neighborhood” that wanted to know how to form a group in their community.

And, over the past few months, Gary and Rosamaria gathered together lists of our neighbors names and addresses; sent out emails and post cards, listing the benefits of a Watch group.  We had some people volunteer their time to put up signs – Randi Coulthard put up the neighborhood watch signs along with Rosamaria – others donated monies so we could purchase more signs, etc. and so we began our quest. Arlene Coulthard helped in every aspect of the set up.

The author in gray long-sleeved shirt with her neighbors.

On August 1st, National Night Out, we decided to invite the entire neighborhood to an Ice Cream Social.  We wanted to have it at a neighborhood location that was easy to get to from all the streets surrounding our area. We contacted Pastor Bekki at St. Peters by the Sea Church and asked if we could hold it there. She was delightful and went out of her way to tell us we could use the facilities there; the trash containers, tables and chairs, etc.

Community Relations Officer David Surwilo.

We then contacted Officer David Surwilo and found out that he and his fellow officers would be glad to also spend some time with the neighborhood telling us what they were doing to help make our community a safe one. ( Not only did he show up with Captain Laura McLaen and Officer Ron Stinsen, a representative from the City Attorney’s office came also.)

But here is the best part!

We had close to 100 people from the neighborhood show up.  Was it the ice cream?  I don’t think so. The friendliness and interest was amazing.  Neighbors were so glad to meet other neighbors.  To finally put a name to a face; to actually have a conversation was fun.   One of the things that Rosamaria found out was that many neighbors are on vacation, or going on vacation and the thought of having someone looking out for the safety of their homes while they are gone was a true relief.  And another factor that was delightful was that Pastor Bekki attended and circulated among the crowd. People were so glad to meet her also.

We will be having another meeting at the end of September, and hope to have meetings quarterly.  We are all concerned about keeping our neighborhood safe, but the idea of just getting to know each other is a positive factor also.  For those that came by to see what we were doing that do not live in the area, we would be glad to offer some assistance in setting up your own Neighborhood Watch group.  It definitely is an asset to the community, and certainly an aid to our living conditions.  We can hardly wait for the next meeting!

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Judi August 4, 2023 at 11:36 am

Many thanks to all of you that came to the ice cream social. We look forward to seeing you at the next meeting at the end of September.


Mary Jean Delcampo August 5, 2023 at 8:39 am

Please include me for the next gathering. Thank you


Gravitas August 7, 2023 at 10:28 am

What a wonderful turnout. And what a great example of how “a few good people” did something great! Many thanks.


kh August 10, 2023 at 12:29 pm

If the neighbors has any desire to use facebook for communication, there is a group setup they should consider commandeering. Very little activity but it’s intended for neighbors south of Point Loma Ave. I’m certain I could get the admin privileges transferred over to whoever. It can be productive or counterproductive depending on how it’s managed and the tone that is set.


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