Some Ocean Beach residents and business owners say they’re fed up and frustrated with what they say is an increase in violence and aggressive behavior from homeless people in the area.
Surveillance video captured outside Hodad’s on Newport Avenue Friday around 9:45 p.m. gives a small glimpse of the problem, according to Woodrow Boethel.
“I did a pretty good job of defending myself," he said. "I was lucky enough to walk away alive. No doubt they would have killed me."
The footage outside Hodad's shows Boethel grappling with several men who he said were homeless and had harassed him for money.
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"I told them to leave me alone or there's going to be a huge problem. Not just that night, but for the rest of the time because we’re not going to tolerate this anymore in this town," Boethel said.
Aggravated assaults in Ocean Beach are on the rise, according to city crime data. There were 6.3 incidents per 1,000 people in all of 2021 compared to 7.3 so far this year.
"This is becoming commonplace in OB, which is really unfortunate,” Hodad’s manager Chris Saltzman said. “During business hours we're having fights break out and issues occur all the time."
Business operators say crime has gotten progressively worse in the area, especially since the pandemic. There's also concern about police officers' ability to enforce the law as well as their overall presence.
“Unfortunately the few times we've called police they’ve not shown up and it's been an issue for us, because I feel like, who are we supposed to call if they don’t show up?" wondered Saltzman.
“The city needs to take control of the situation. Todd Gloria, Jen Campbell — This is lawlessness. It’s out of control," Boethel said calling out San Diego's mayor and OB's city council representative.
Boethel, a nurse anesthetist, said he's unable to work after injuring his hand during the fight. He spoke to NBC 7 Wednesday donning an Idaho hat, which is where he said he plans to move.
“I bought five acres. I'm out of here when retirement comes. Love you O.B." he said.
San Diego Police Department Lt. Adam Sharki sent NBC 7 the following statement:
“We understand why this incident is distressing to our community. The video is difficult to watch. The San Diego Police Department will continue to quickly respond to calls for service and work proactively to keep our neighborhoods safe. This is an active investigation. While the suspects in this attack currently remain at large, our detectives have identified persons of interest and are working to build a case against those involved.”