OCEAN BEACH, Calif. — Surveillance video from outside Hodad’s Hamburger shop in the heart of Ocean Beach on Newport Avenue captured a violent moment from Saturday night.
Witnesses told FOX 5, a man was attacked and thrown to the ground by a group of unsheltered men, in what is the latest of a growing problem for the beachside community.
“It’s out-of-control. These guys are ruling our beach,” said Randy Dible, an OB business owner.
Dible said he’s been threatened and attacked multiple times by people sleeping on the streets, who he says are becoming increasingly aggressive.
“On Sunday night, I was attacked by a guy with a skateboard who sleeps with this guy right here,” said Dible. “I have a photo booth down here. I have to clear out the homeless people in the morning, they were pissed off that I had to clean them out.”
Ocean Beach has always welcomed the off-beat and colorful, many choosing to live unsheltered. What the community is experiencing now, however, they say is much different and criminal. They say San Diego police are not doing anything about it.
“It does seem as though when violent episodes occur like this that we should be able to call 911 and get an immediate response.,” said Cory Bruins, President of the OB Town Council.
He’s in charge of next weekend’s tree lighting and Christmas parade. Bruins says he’s confident they have enough police and security for the event, but says eroding trust in the cops is a dangerous precedent.
“When police come by and are present in the situation, and say that they can’t do anything…that their hands are tied, things like that, those stories really hurt because I think that it creates a lack of confidence in our police department and that’s not a good thing,” Bruins said.
Because of OB’s unique unsheltered population, it’s easy to call this a homeless issue, but shop owners says that is not relevant.
Rachel Laing, a spokesperson for Mayor Todd Gloria, issued this statement, “The mayor could not be more clear that he expects SDPD to enforce the law – always. Obviously, SDPD can’t arrest people simply for being homeless, but SDPD is expected to and does enforce our laws.”