Downtown Park Riddled by Crime Gets Redesign

The redesign included removing 24 trees from the park to increase visibility from the street for law enforcement and removing several mounds where homeless people sleep

The Children’s Park in downtown San Diego is described by Google as a place "where ducks swim," but the children’s play area has been riddled with crime and homelessness for years.

San Diego police reports show officers responded to the Children's Park more than 400 times in a two-year period for crimes including prostitution, vandalism and drug possession.

In February San Diego City Councilman Todd Gloria said the problems had to do with the physical layout of the park such as grassy mounds that homeless people sleep near.

City memos show that 24 trees were removed from the park to increase visibility from the street for law enforcement. Several mounds were also removed. He and others say the mounds contributed to crime in the park.

City officials are hoping the redesign will reduce crime and discourage homeless people from sleeping in the park.

"In the beginning it was very beautiful with the mounds,” downtown resident Sara Beveridge said. “The big huge mounds and it was all grassy, it was beautiful! But I think the intention was to keep the homeless from sleeping in the park because of the mounds, but then they started to remove the mounds, and the homeless are still here anyway."

Gloria says one of the roadblocks to making these changes earlier was funding.

NBC 7 plans to check back to see if the redesign has any impact on crime at the park.

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