Thursday, Oct. 19, 2006 | The recent horrific gang rapes in Mission Beach have shocked and disgusted local residents, but some residents have expressed doubts over the city’s ability to handle the problem. One resident, who wished not to be identified, said, “Pacific Beach has been under siege for years, and it’s getting as bad here.”

The Police Department’s statistics may prove his point. This year, from January through August, the city of San Diego Neighborhoods Crime Index reported more violent crime in Pacific Beach than any other of the 116 San Diego communities it tracks. Pacific Beach ranked first in rapes with 13, second in aggravated assaults with 103, second in strong-arm robberies with 34, and was one of 22 communities with nine or more armed robberies. Pacific Beach also ranked second highest in auto thefts, with 358 vehicles reported stolen.

Mission Beach, meanwhile, struggles with a violent-crime-per-thousand-rate of 15.68, more than three times the citywide average of 4.98.

Since August, but before the crimes reported this week, ARJIS Crime Mapping reported for Mission Beach another seven robberies, nine aggravated assaults, four simple assaults, and one rape. During the same six-week period, thieves stole another 19 vehicles, adding to the 70 stolen in Mission Beach during the first eight months of the year.

Before an emotional community meeting held last Monday night in Mission Beach, off-duty San Diego police officers handed out flyers titled, “Got Cops?” The flyers detailed the attrition rate and understaffing problems at the San Diego Police Department. Some residents at the meeting vigorously questioned the police department’s response ability, given the staffing problems.

Assistant Police Chief William Maheu insisted patrols would be increased. But Nancy Geller, president of the Mission Beach Town Council, admitted during her short statement to the crowd that, “Crime is on the rise.”

The community plans another meeting tonight, 7 p.m., at the Mission Beach Woman’s Club, 840 Santa Clara Place. Both City Attorney Mike Aguirre and Council Member Kevin Faulconer will speak.

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