The article you’re about to read is from our reporters doing their important work — investigating, researching, and writing their stories. We want to provide informative and inspirational stories that connect you to the people, issues and opportunities within our community. Journalism requires lots of resources. Today, our business model has been interrupted by the pandemic; the vast majority of our advertisers’ businesses have been impacted. That’s why the SC Times is now turning to you for financial support. Learn more about our new Insider’s program here. Thank you.

SCSQUARED halfBy Eva M. Kohn, San Clemente

I have been a San Clemente resident for 10 years. I love this town; however, in the past year I’ve seen an incredible decline in our town. My opinions are based on my personal experiences and those of my closest friends. I am a frequent visitor of Ocean View Plaza. I frequent the nail salon, hair salon, cleaners, Starbucks, Yougurtland, TKD, CVS, Habit Burger and Trader Joe’s to name a few. In the last month, I had to flee CVS with my child after a very disturbed and visibly intoxicated transient was threatening to kill the pharmacist and the patrons. CVS called 911. Weeks later, a very disturbed lady was trying to get into people’s moving cars in front of the Starbucks/Yogurtland area. She was almost run over by cars trying to avoid her. I was, again, with children. This time, I called 911. Finally, I was at Trader Joe’s and another man went into the store and started to knock cans on the ground and fled the store without paying. After all these incidents, I started to ask the store owners at OVP if they’ve had similar experiences. What they told me shocked and saddened me.

One of the employees said that her store was vandalized twice since the summer. In one occasion a man with a “homemade arm” stormed her store after a chase with police for robbing a nearby dentist office. She told me there were patrons in her store and police came in with guns blazing. She said she carries mace at all times.

I also asked my friend who lives across from OVP if she had some sour experiences. She said on three occasions she had witnessed people going into Ralphs and stealing alcohol. On one of those occasions, she was able to get the license plate number. She also said a member of her family witnessed a person dressed in gang-style clothing with a gun under his arm under plain view. As reported on the news, CVS at that center has been robbed twice and the gas station next door has been robbed too, both at gun point. All these incidents at this center have me thinking if this is the product of the rise in sober living homes, which allegedly there are over 80 in San Clemente and several across the street from OVP or in Capo Beach. I have asked City Council, Brixmor Property Group and the store owners at OVP to increase security at that center; however, the issue of the rampant crime in our city has to be given a serious look if we want to preserve our home values and our standing as a place to raise families.

Perhaps the new tax revenue from the Outlets at San Clemente can be used for increased police activity and monitoring and of these sober living homes. Let’s preserve San Clemente as the safe, charming, Spanish Village by the Sea that we can all enjoy and be proud.

Trustworthy, accurate and reliable local news stories are more important now than ever. Support our newsroom by making a contribution and becoming a subscribing member today.

About The Author Staff

comments (8)

  • I agree with everything in this article and have myself been very saddened and disturbed by the increase in small crimes and disturbances in San Clemente. I too am worried about the potential of crime escalating and leading to much worse. I have witnessed a homeless woman’s outburst in the dollar store to where the police had to be called, and don’t go in the CVS on El Camino Real because of the middle of the day robbery at gunpoint. My hairdresser used to be right there by CVS and because of this robbery and the continued problem with a drug house that was behind it, she left and went to Dana Point. I have followed her there and feel safer when getting my hair done. I would like to see something done about all of this before it worsens, and before everyone starts doing business elsewhere.

  • I feel it is the job of a professional reporter not to spread stories without proper substantiation.
    I thought we were a society of innocence until proven guilty. These types of stories and remarks just breed fear and discontent.

    • Hi Mary,

      This was written by one of our readers and not a reporter. The letter is an opinion piece and not a news article. If you would like to respond with your own views, please email a letter of 350 words or fewer to Thanks for reaching out.

    • Martina MCBurney-Wheeler Reply

      Mary, then by all means check out the Orange County see the number and types of calls that are being reported. The city is declining and crime is on the rise.

  • it’s been in decline since they disbanded the city Police dept

  • Here’s some info that I found on some of the cities mentioned in this article.
    Neighborhood scout

    Crime rates index
    100 being the safest city.

    61% safer than rest of the cities in us. San clement.
    Dana point 41% safer than rest…
    Irvine 55% safer than rest ….
    Newport beach 30% safer than rest ….

    It suggest san clemente is a safer city than dana point and these other cities on its crime safety index.

    The person that moved to dana point may feel safer by moving to dana point but the facts show otherwise.

    I agree however, that we should make this city a safe place for families. We can always improve in this area.

  • I 100% agree with Ms. Kohn. I have lived in SC for 14 years and have noticed a marked increase in incidents. Residents need to look at the blotter to see what is happening and take a look around. Unfortunately many of these group homes are unlicensed, unregulated and inadequately staffed with inexperienced managers. Consequently the city and permanent SC residents are experiencing the fallout effects.

  • Please look at Police Blotter for San Clemente and go to 600 Block of Camino de Los Mares – OVP and Stater Brothers. Just last week there were three incidents of indecent exposure at that address. For the people that live in Forster Ranch, Seapoint Estates or Capo Beach this is the most prominent center with everything from burger places to two gyms, banks Tae Kwon Do, Ralphs, TJ, etc. The city and this center need to pay more attention to these type of incidents. I used take my children to this center all the time and after several incidents like the ones described by Ms. Kohn, I too decided that my kids life and my safety were at risk.

comments (8)

Your email address will not be published.

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>