The City of San Diego removed mounds of dirt from the downtown Children’s Park, revamping the park’s design, which one city councilman said was attracting criminals.
The park is located on Island Avenue and Front Street, built by the City when San Diego hosted the Republican National Convention in 1996. The tax-payer funded park is described by Google as a place "where ducks swim" with "a kids' playground under the pines."
This week, mounds of dirt and 24 trees were removed from the Children’s Park.
In February area residents and San Diego City Councilman Todd Gloria told NBC 7 Investigates the grassy mounds and physical layout of the park attracted homeless people and criminals.
“You have these mounds, and collectively it really creates an opportunity for folks not to be seen, and that's certainly not good for children,” Gloria said.
NBC 7 Investigates reviewed years of police records from the San Diego Police Department. The reports show officers responded to the Children’s Park more than 400 times in a two-year period. Some of the crimes recorded by police included petty theft, disturbing the peace with violence, arson in progress, domestic violence, prostitution, vandalism and drug possession.
Click here to see the original investigation.
City memos show the trees were removed from the park to increase law enforcement’s visibility from the street.
In February, Gloria said one of the roadblocks to making these changes earlier was funding. In an email, Adrian Granda, Director of Communications for Gloria said throughout the city budget process Gloria pushed for “adequate resources” be made available to address the visibility issues at the Children’s Park.
The SDPD provided the records to NBC 7 Investigates, but declined to comment further.
Will the renovations decrease crime at the park? NBC 7 Investigates will be following up on this story.
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