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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.