City Heights

Neighbors Describe Revolving Door of Criminal Activity at ‘Gambling Den' in City Heights

San Diego police officers have responded to the building on Van Dyke Avenue north of University Avenue 24 times in just the last six years

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Records obtained by NBC 7 show a pattern of ongoing criminal activity surrounding a building in City Heights that police describe as a known “illegal gambling den.”

The data supports claims by worried neighbors who say law enforcement hasn’t done enough to clean up the mess.

Last week, police arrested three people as they left the building on Van Dyke Avenue just north of University Avenue. All three face felony charges for possession of firearms and methamphetamine with intent to distribute.

"I'm tired of the situation,” neighbor Ana Ibarra said. Most folks who live on the street were too afraid to talk to NBC 7 on camera. “I know if I don't say or do something, it will keep happening."

There is a non-stop influx of visitors who appear high or heavily intoxicated, and it’s not unusual to see dozens of people inside one room, according to Ibarra. Another constant, Ibarra said, is officers walking people out in handcuffs, only to see them come back like nothing happened.

The San Diego Police Department detective who typed up the charging paperwork for last week’s arrests referred to the address as a known “illegal gambling den.”

Information obtained by NBC 7 through a public records request shows officers have responded to the building 24 times in just the last six years. Those calls ranged from disturbing the peace with violence to battery and narcotics activity.

"I thought it was going to stop,” Ibarra said. “But the same people I saw are still there. I feel unsafe for me, for my sisters, for everyone."

NBC 7 reached out to SDPD several times Friday for an interview to ask about police activity at the Van Dyke Avenue location, but the department had not responded as of Friday evening.

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