Imperial Beach residents catch acts of vandalism on camera

IMPERIAL BEACH (KUSI) – Over the past month, vandals have defaced many businesses in Imperial Beach, leaving graffiti along their walls and sidewalks in the middle of the night several times a week and it was all caught on camera.

Matt and Kimberly Dickson scrubbed off chalk from beneath their sign at South Bay Urgent Care in Imperial Beach. That was a lot easier to wash off than what they’re used to finding.

“It brings down our community,” said Kimberly Dickson, Owner and Physician at South Bay Urgent Care. “It makes people think poorly of us as a community and that’s not what we want.”

Their family-run business was vandalized, yet again.

The Dickson’s surveillance camera captured video of a group of boys that looked like teenagers heading down Palm Avenue in the middle of the night. They all stopped, pulled out the paint, and started tagging the walls with graffiti.

Then it happened again. The second video showed two of them this time, but they sure seemed proud of themselves as they gave each other a big high five when the job was finished.

“We started our business down here because we love the community,” said Dickson. “We love the people, so it hurts when we find this.”

Dickson said her employees have found graffiti on the walls, along the sidewalk and underneath their sign as many as five times in the past month.

“I’m somewhat personally hurt because we’ve put love and time and energy into our building and into our community and I feel like it’s disrespectful for our community,” said Dickson.

It’s reached the point that the employees at South Bay Urgent Care now have a new protocol. They walk around the building before opening up each morning to make sure there’s nothing on their property.

“Immediately we cover it up,” said Dickson. “We have matching paint that we keep here on hand. Within a few minutes, it’s covered up. That way the community won’t see it.”

The folks at South Bay Urgent Care aren’t the only victims. There were a handful of other businesses along Palm Ave. targeted and tagged with graffiti. Some said this is a growing problem in Imperial Beach.

For example, the manager at a trailer park right down the street told KUSI News he was hit three times in just one week.

“They don’t have respect and it just makes me feel that other people that come from other towns, they try to enjoy imperial beach, but they see it as a ghetto place or there’s violence here,” said Noel Riez, Manager at Apache Trailer Lodge. “We try to keep people from other states to enjoy San Diego because San Diego is a beautiful place.”

Kimberly Dickson said cameras have not slowed the vandals down, but all the videos have been turned-over to the San Diego Police Department. Their next plan is to install motion-sensor lights.

We will keep you updated with the response from SDPD.

Categories: Local San Diego News