An open letter to San Diego’s Mayor Sanders and Police Chief LansdowneSeptember 21, 2007 No Comments
I think our Mayor and Police Chief are mistaken. That is, I think allowing alcohol on our beaches is a year-round public safety issue to both residents, guests from around the region and tourists from around the world.
With all due respect, and based on my understanding of this policy, punishing the local beach communities with his ‘containment strategy’ to deal with the hoards of drunks in PB is, I believe a faulty strategy by Chief Lansdowne. I ask the Chief to name communities in the local area or nationally, where alcohol-related crimes went up in the immediate neighborhood, or further inland, when alcohol was removed from beaches. I’ve searched and can find none. I can find many however that claim the opposite, that crime and arrests significantly decreased when alcohol-free ordinances were enacted.
Regarding alcohol-related crimes. In 2005 the SDPD arrested and cited 6,225 people which represents 33.5% of all Alcohol Arrests and Cites for the entire city (source). This, in the beach community areas (PB/MB/OB) that claim only 4.9% of the total city population (source). These arrest and citation numbers would go down significantly if alcohol were off the beach year-round. Crimes would not increase citywide because people commit them while they are congregating at our beaches.
I’m also puzzled by Mayor Sanders spokesperson Fred Sainz saying the Mayor would most likely veto an alcohol-free ordinance if the council approved one (source). With the Mayor’s 26-some years in police enforcement he certainly can see that crime stats are off the charts in our beach communities on a year-round basis. Sure, crime is higher on the holidays but, only because the sheer number of people who flood our beaches. Irresponsible criminals don’t wait for holidays to break the law, they just break those laws in lesser, but still high, numbers.
Beach communities have year-round astronomical DUI’s, drunk in publics, minors in possession, alcohol-related vehicle accidents, alcohol-related deaths, rapes and a myriad of other crimes such as urinating in public, graffiti, vandalism and property crimes. How the Mayor would allow people in the beach communities, visitors from around the city and tourists from around the world not only witness but, endure these crimes year-round is unconscionable.
How many communities throughout San Diego do not get the full, expected and deserved Police enforcement levels in their neighborhoods because our limited supply of officers are at the beach babysitting the drunks.
I exhort the Mayor and Police Chief to interview beach team SDPD patrol officers, lifeguards, local businesses and concerned community leaders and residents. I can assure you that the overwhelming majority would support a year-round alcohol free ordinance and hope that their Mayor and Police Chief reconsider their positions. This is a major public safety issue that will not go away. Only a complete year-round ordinance is the appropriate response. How many more people must be assaulted, hurt, robbed, killed to help us all understand that we have all allowed this to get too far?Beach Ordinance