“Fanuel Park, aka ‘felony park,’ is a total problem area and has become a magnet for crime, much of it happening during the nighttime hours,” said Pacific Beach Town Council president Brian White. “Due to rampant illegal activity being observed by residents, the PB community is seeking a 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew for Fanuel Street Park.”
Added White: “This park is a hot spot for criminal activity including open drug dealing, intravenous drug usage and chop shops for stolen bike disassembly. Needles have been found in and around the bathrooms, and in the grass where children play, which is an unacceptable situation for park-goers and nearby residents.”
The park, at the south end of Fanuel Street on Mission Bay, features a children’s playground, grass field, and public restrooms. It’s a popular area for dog walkers and parents bringing their kids to play on the dolphin sculptures and rocking animals off the Mission Bay Park path.
White presented the council’s Fanuel Park curfew proposal to the Mission Bay Park Committee in December.
“The Mission Bay Park Committee approved a motion to support a nighttime curfew at Fanuel Park Dec. 3,” said City spokesperson Jennifer McBride. “The motion will now go to the Park and Recreation Board for consideration. They’re expected to consider the proposal early this year.”
McBride said that the nighttime curfew if approved by the Park and Recreation Board, would then go to the City Council for approval to amend the City’s Municipal Code.
“Coastal Commission approval is also required,” McBride added.
If the curfew drive is successful, Fanuel would join some 20 other City parks with nighttime curfews. That list includes Belmont Park in Mission Beach, Coast Boulevard south of the Wedding Bowl in La Jolla, Diamond Street in Pacific Beach, Fiesta Island (no vehicles from 10 p.m.-4 a.m.) and Bahia Point and Fanuel Street parking lots.
A local homeowners association agreed that Fanuel Park has become a problem needing resolution.
“Over the past several years, our residents have seen an increase in gang activity, drug dealing, drug use and discarded needles, litter, vandalism and prostitution and theft/burglaries happening in the park and surrounding area of our neighborhood,” wrote Robert Citrano, president of Bay Scene Owners Association, in a letter supporting the Fanuel curfew. “The well being and safety of our more than 100 residents is our top priority.”
Pacific Beach Woman’s Club concurred.
“Many of our club members, friends, and relatives living near Fanuel Park have noted many illegal and unsafe activities,” wrote Pam Egan, PBWC president in a support letter. “Our understanding is curfews are not targeted toward homeless people who use the parks, but rather toward criminals. We agree with this use of the curfews.”
In 2019, crime mapping statistics compiled by San Diego Police Department showed 36 alcohol/drug incidents reported in or near Fanuel Park. Those statistics included one assault with a deadly weapon, eight burglaries, eight-car thefts, 13 thefts/larcenies, four prostitution arrests, five vandalisms, three batteries, and 14 vehicle break-ins.
“Something needs to be done because the current state of affairs at Fanuel Park is an atrocity,” said White. “We (PBTC) believe a curfew at this park would be an added enforcement tool for our San Diego Police Department Northern Division officers to keep Fanuel Park and the surrounding area safer for all.”