Imperial Beach parking lot closed due to recent crime - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Imperial Beach parking lot closed due to recent crime

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SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) - The city closed the parking lot at Dunes Park on Seacoast Drive last week after recent criminal activity, including a violent attack on maintenance worker. 

The city said the closure is only temporary, but beachgoers do not support the move. 

The orange "No Parking" barriers have been up for a week, and the city manager said they often go up during festivals and big holidays to help beach crews stage for the crowds. 

"To close down the parking lot, it's almost like they are punishing the public," said beachgoer Johnny Duran. 

Last week a Tidelands employee was closing down when he was severely beaten by someone hanging out at the park. 

The worker, in his 20's, was taken to the hospital with a concussion. 

"Parking is always a premium in a beach community. It's important to us too, but safety certainly trumps," said Andy Hall, Imperial Beach City Manager. 

Eyewitnesses to another assault said a few weeks ago, a hotel-restaurant employee was mugged while walking to her car after work around 11 p.m.

"All of the sudden I heard a girl scream, 'someone help me,'" said Jack Staats, an Imperial Beach resident. 

Beachgoers said the troublemakers park close to the beach, hide beer, alcohol and marijuana. 

"My nephew comes down here and plays at the park and stuff. I don't want him hanging out with, like, people who are on drugs," said Lucas Molina, a beachgoer who supports the closure. 

For now, workers close restrooms at dusk instead of after dark, and they work in pairs. 

Workers and some beachgoers said closing off parking is keeping the troublemakers from parking and hiding their stash to cause problems. 

The Tidelands employee has recovered and reported to work on Friday. 

The city manger expects to re-open the parking lot on Tuesday. 

The Sheriff's office would not comment. 

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