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OB Citizen's Patrol: Taking on Crime in the "War Zone"

by Blake Bunch, published

OB Pier Ocean Beach is typically a quiet residential area, but in response to the rising crime rate, concerned citizens have organized.                Photo credit: "Colorado Guy"

One would imagine that life on the beach is all sunshine, smiles, and other stereotypical California utopian sentiment.  During the month of September, however, several cases of sexual assault and peeping Toms plagued the northwest area of Ocean Beach. Not to take things lightly, several "OBceans" are up in arms regarding the tragic events.  In response to the heightened crime rate, Ocean Beach business owner Tim Nolan has organized the OB Citizen's Patrol.

The group held meetings on October 8 and 16 at Nolan's restaurant, Tower Two Cafe.  Patrol consists of three or more citizens who patrol a two block area. Nolan encouraged those in the group to carry a siren and flashlight during the shifts, which are from 9pm-midnight, and midnight-3am.  Nolan has encouraged group members to prevent, not provoke anyone behaving sketchily.

Women in the group were encouraged to have at least one man in the group, which had nearly thirty members in attendance at their last meeting. The group has been extremely proactive in informing residents of what's happening in the area: making signs, passing out literature, and holding meetings once a week - which are open to the public.

The main areas of concern are Muir, Long Branch, Brighton, and Saratoga Avenues westward of Sunset Cliffs Boulevard.  Nolan also encouraged members to call the police non-emergency line at 619-531-2000, or if they witness a crime in progress to call 911.

It is unfortunate that such a close-knit, laid back community have to deal with the issue of sexual violence.  The beaches of San Diego are were folks go to relax, and surely this citizen's patrol will play into the hindrance of crime in the "war zone," the westward section of OB past Sunset Cliffs Boulevard.  Just like any other area at night, the OB Citizen's Patrol recommends on walking in groups.


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