LAGUNA BEACH (CBSLA) — A crackdown on crime in one of Southern California’s most popular beaches.
At Main Street Beach in Laguna Beach in the past year police have responded to 1,500 incidents including violent attacks, public drunkenness and fighting in front of tourists, children and business owners.
It’s called the Window to the Sea, where kids can play, families can BBQ and anyone can hit the sand and the waves. But Laguna Beach resident Cara Holtschneide says Main Street Beach and Heisler Park in Laguna aren’t what they used to be.
“I just think it’s not safe and why put yourself in a situation where you are feeling uncomfortable,” said Holtschneide. “In the last five years I tend not to go down there at all.”
Deborah Farhod has worked steps from Main Street Beach for years. She says it now attracts different homeless people than she used to see.
“They are a little more violent,” said Farhod. “A lot of foul language. Getting out of hand now.”
In the past year police have responded to so many incidents the Laguna City Council voted Tuesday night to spend $155,000 and add two officers there to step up patrols seven days a week.
“They do need the extra police protection. Police presence out there,” said Farhod.
Some are hoping for more than enforcement but solutions to what they call a growing problem.
“I do think it’s important to have an increased presence for law enforcement because of the homelessness crisis,” said tourist Rowena Koenig.
“I think they should take it easy on them. They deserve to get help,” said Laguna Beach resident Kathy Salimi.
Police say they have already stepped up patrols, but the new funding goes into effect for the two officers in the new year.