Bird Rock businesses are increasingly targeted with window smashing and BB gun shootings

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Representatives from the San Diego Police Department addressed a recent increase in vandalism at businesses along La Jolla Boulevard, while residents expressed concern about insufficient lighting and the safety issues it presents during the first meeting of the year of the Bird Rock Community Council on February 1st.

Over the past few months, several businesses in Bird Rock have been vandalized by seemingly random window breaks. In some cases, a BB gun was used to damage the windows.

Be Seen Optics has been hit three times, optometrist Jesse Camden said – twice in August and once in January.

In August, Camden said: “One night two of our windows were hit by what looks like a BB gun. You could see little holes where the burst points were. The following night, a third window was hit.

She said two other businesses along La Jolla Boulevard were vandalized during the same period, and more since.

In one of the most recent cases, “I saw surveillance footage,” she said. “[The vandals] didn’t look like they were trying to get inside, it looked like they were just looking to cause some damage. I saw these guys standing there for a few minutes after breaking the window, admiring their work.

Camden said there wasn’t enough light to capture a license plate number on their vehicle.

SDPD Community Relations Officer Ariel Del Toro confirmed there were more occurrences than normal. “Often, unfortunately, these are crimes of opportunity,” she said. “We encouraged people to move their goods out of sight. … Install alarms [triggered by] the broken glass was really beneficial because it warns the alarm company, which warns us.

She also recommended installing cameras with a view of the front of the business.

San Diego Police Department Community Relations Officer Ariel Del Toro speaks to the Bird Rock Community Council during their Feb. 1 online meeting.

(Ashley Mackin-Solomon)

Growing concern about crime in Bird Rock follows several burglaries at La Jolla Village businesses and a series of burglaries at La Jolla homes, many believed to be linked to a criminal network.

Camden told the La Jolla Light after the BRCC meeting that she would advocate for “anything that would deter this kind of vandalism” including bringing more light and more businesses to La Jolla Boulevard, making it more popular “so these people don’t feel not free to navigate and do what they want to do.

“I would also like parents to ask their children if they know anyone who could do this,” she added. “We’re tired of having the expense of replacing glass and decals over and over again. We have started to secure the goods at the back, which creates more work for the staff. We don’t want to do that; people should be able to walk by and see our products.

Bird Rock Merchants Group President Craig Bender agreed there was insufficient lighting on La Jolla Boulevard and said merchants did not feel safe. “Many of our businesses are owned by women and many don’t feel comfortable driving to and from their businesses in the early morning and evening,” he said.

Amanda Walker, owner of Studio Barre in Bird Rock, said classes were held at 6 a.m. and were mostly made up of women. “A few months ago, when it was very dark in the morning, one of my instructors was teaching and … a man came in and she had to get him out. It was scary. He doesn’t feel safe. We always have to talk about how we are going to leave if we have to leave alone. More lighting would be amazing.

Bender said, “We tell merchants to keep porch lights on to help illuminate the boulevard, but that’s not enough. Everyone wants more lighting. We keep talking about it and nothing gets done.

He said vandalism would be reduced if lighting was improved. “We need to work more diligently on this from a security perspective.”

La Jolla residents have expressed frustration over street light outages, some of which have lasted more than a year, with little or no response from the city.

Other BRCC news

Discount app: After months of development, the DCCO Merchant Discount App went live earlier this year, offering users special deals at Bird Rock businesses. Anyone who is a member of the BRCC has access to the application.

“It was a big project, but the purpose of the app is to get local support for businesses and provide discounts to places residents visit the most,” Bender said. “There are 14 merchants currently on the app. The goal is to have 20 by the end of March.

With promotions that change quarterly, businesses from beauty salons and exercise studios to home repair services and retail stores are on the app.

Forward Rush: Bird Rock Maintenance Assessment District Representative Barbara Dunbar says a swale installed on La Jolla Boulevard at Forward Street successfully diverted rainwater to the sewer. stormwater from nearby Midway Street, reducing flooding in the area. “It seems to work a lot better than what we had before,” she said.

The intersection was often flooded after moderate to heavy rains, prompting residents to refer to the area as “Lake Forward”. The bear was installed in October.

Next meeting: The next Bird Rock Community Council meeting will be at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, March 1, tentatively online. Learn more about birdrockcc.org. ◆

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