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Rachel Perkins, Spring 2012 Students

Pacific Beach has the highest crime in all the beach communities

By Rachel Perkins

Sunset at La Jolla Beach

Photo by: Rachel Perkins

Southern California is known for the beaches, sunshine and near-perfect weather, and San Diego is no exception. San Diego has 70 miles of beaches traveling from by the border at Imperial Beach to San Onofre State beach. There are 19 beaches in San Diego, ranging from beaches for tourists and families, to people wanting to get a drink, to even having beaches for dogs.

There are many people who visit the beaches of San Diego and help keep the police and lifeguards busy.

One of the beach communities in San Diego that attracts a younger crowd is the Pacific Beach, Mission Beach and South Mission areas.

The different types of lifestyles are a part of the reason why the crime is different in the beach communities up and down the coast.
“Pacific Beach is a thriving life, vibrant, going out lifestyle and Ocean Beach is more of an ‘organic’ or hippie lifestyle,” said Lt. Andra Brown, a Police Department spokeswoman.

One resident, who calls himself “Trader” lives the Ocean Beach lifestyle.

Trader comes to Ocean Beach during the winter season. He picks up copper from the roadways and he sells them to the people in Ocean Beach

Crime statistics show  Pacific Beach had the highest crime rate from all the other San Diego beach communities last year, totaling 1,893.

A few of Pacific Beach crime statistics from January 2011 to December 2011:

  • 14 rapes
  • 14 armed robberies
  • 38 strong armed robberies
  • 149 aggravated assaults
  • A total of 1,065 larceny thefts

The total crime in Ocean Beach last year was 537.

A few of  Ocean Beach crime statistics from January  2011 to December 2011:

  • 2 rapes
  • 8 armed robberies
  • 13 strong armed robberies
  • 91 aggravated assaults
  • A total of 257 larceny thefts

“Also, Pacific Beach is a larger community than Ocean Beach and that makes for more crime, says Brown. There is more parking, a lot more activity, more tourists who come to Pacific Beach and that makes for more potential for problems.”

The police has more police  patrolling the Pacific, Mission and South Mission areas.

“To put it in perspective, said Brown the police department has three beach teams to patrol the beach goers in the Pacific and Mission Beach areas, while O.B only has one.”

Even though there is more potential for crime in Pacific Beach, that doesn’t stop the party goers from a having a good time.

“I know the reputation of the Mission Beach and Pacific Beach areas. But the only crime that I have witnessed is people drinking too much and getting into fights. I feel though, that can happen at any bar in San Diego”, said Mission beach visitor Tiffanie Sojourner.

Pacific, Ocean, Mission beach communities were one of the last beaches to ban alcohol.

La Jolla, which is more known for being a “family friendly” beach, banned alcohol more than 20 years ago.

“The alcohol ban in La Jolla has been in place for years so people are used to going to La Jolla for family outings, while the ban for Pacific Beach areas has only been in place since 2008, said Brown.”

Roberta Burnette, La Jolla Beach visitor, takes her children to La Jolla because it is a family atmosphere.

Roberta Burnette has been coming to La Jolla Shore since she was a little girl. Now 20 years later, she takes her children because it is a safe and kid friendly beach.

Alcohol increases water rescues

The number of lifeguards on duty depends on the season and the geographical distance of the beach. The busiest times for lifeguards are during the summer.

“During the peak season La Jolla Shores, including Scripps can have anywhere from 10 to 12 lifeguards on duty, says Lifeguard Lt. Andy Lerum. Pacific Beach, which is Santa Clara to Crystal Pier can have anywhere from 15 to 18.”

Some of the water rescues in Pacific Beach are due to alcohol.

Alcohol impairs people’s judgment. Since the ban on alcohol in 2008 people walk into the water after consuming alcohol from a bar and they are not able to swim as well, says Lerum.

In La Jolla, the rescues are mostly due to water conditions.

There are far more drinking rescues in La Jolla says Lerum. Most of the rescues are due to rip tides and currents.

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