‘Crime is escalating:’ Neighbor shares passionate plea after murders near park

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Latest: Police have identified the 38-year-old man who died after being found at the park with bullet wounds

SAN DIEGO – Neighbors in the Emerald Hills area of San Diego say they need more help to reduce crime in their neighborhood, especially after two recent murders.

On Mother’s Day, police say a woman was shot in her car near the entrance of Emerald Hills Neighborhood Park. And on Monday morning, a man was found with gunshot wounds to his upper body in the park’s parking lot.

“We’ve been promised police patrol to be added, and I know the police have their hands full and my heart goes out to them, but we need police here — overtime because the crime is escalating,” said Marcie Flajole, who’s lived in the neighborhood for 10 years.

In June, San Diego police reported a 129% increase in gang-related shootings city-wide since Jan. 1. The police department says it stepped up enforcement in response to the recent shootings and is also working with community intervention groups to curb the violence.

“I think there are pockets where there might be gang activity, but I think it’s coming from other neighborhoods. And this park seems to be one of the danger zones where they meet and have a conflict,” Flajole said.

Flajole is speaking out in hopes of drawing attention to ongoing crime in the area, and not only shootings.

“Things that go on in this community would never be tolerated elsewhere. The trash on the freeway, the messes, the fireworks, the gunshots. We live in a war zone on July 4 here,” she said.

She and other neighbors hope to have this small ask granted — to get the gate to Emerald Hills Neighborhood Park locked overnight.

Flajole has reached out to Councilmember Monica Montgomery Steppe, who represents Emerald Hills and serves as chair of the city’s Public Safety and Livable Neighborhoods Committee.

Steppe’s office sent FOX 5 a statement Monday evening:

“I stand with the residents of Emerald Hills in expressing concerns for the best way to keep our parks safer. … Public safety remains a top priority for my office, and we are working closely with the Parks & Recreation Department on a viable solution to the community’s concerns.”

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