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Business owners, neighbors fed up with crime in Rolando, City Heights

From City Heights to Rolando and the College Area, people gathered on Monday to discuss what needs to change in San Diego’s ninth district.

SAN DIEGO — Violent crime, drugs, homeless issues and a lack of resolve from the city: that’s what neighbors and business owners on El Cajon Boulevard said they are dealing with everyday.

“You see more people on drugs, you see more people shoplifting, but not just shoplifting, violent shoplifting. If you confront them you run the risk of getting harm or even getting killed,” said Nicholas Tran who has owned a multicultural supermarket in the area for over 20 years. He says theft and crime are crippling businesses near that area.  

Locals have reported it to the city and the police department, but nothing has been done.

On Monday during a fourth community meeting with officials, many voiced their frustration and urged the city to stop the excuses.  

“Do I risk my livelihood over property? so I don’t know what to do and it's so frustrating so that’s why we are asking for the city to help and for the police to work with the community,” said Tran.

Business owners feel there are no solutions in place and fear they will have to close down their shops.

As for neighbors, they are concerned about living in an area where they witness daily violent aggressions. Like Chad Dragon and Daniel Berge, a couple who live in the Rolando area and noticed a dispute unfold near their home.

“The homeless are aggressive towards us, if we walk we have had homeless follow us and my understanding is that particular incident was two homeless people, it was a domestic violence kind of thing for what I understand,” said Berge and Dragon. 

During the community meeting locals directed their comments towards San Diego City Council President, and District Nine Councilman Sean Elo-Rivera. 

Many were asking why the city is taking so long to mitigate the issues. Elo-Rivera blames staff shortages in the police department and in the city.

“Our police staffing issues are happening across the country,” said the Council President.

Elo-Rivera also added that some of these issues are also affected by different city departments that do not fall in his jurisdiction.

For example the police department, or if an area needs new street lights, that needs to be approved and funded by the entire city council.

“I want them to know that I hear them, I also want to be honest about how some of these things are not going to be changed overnight unfortunately. I wish they could be but I don’t want to make false promises, but I want them to know I hear them and that we are going to work as hard as we can to make things better day by day,” said Elo-Rivera. 

Still, businesses are hurting financially and some families say they are looking to move out of their neighborhoods.  

City officials said they have heard the concerns of locals and will be working closely with other departments.

WATCH RELATED: Man mentally competent to stand trial in death of Rolando veterinarian (Dec. 2022).


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