San Diego

Sexually Violent Predator Could Be Released to Jacumba Address

A public forum regarding the proposed location will be held on Friday

Another sexually violent predator could soon be calling Jacumba Hot Springs home.

The area has been notorious for housing registered sex offenders and sexually violent predators, and another is moving there within the next couple of weeks.

The California Department of State Hospitals (DSH) has recommended the placement of a Sexually Violent Predator (SVP), Herman Joseph Smith, at 42920 Desert Rose Ranch Road, Jacumba Hot Springs.

He’s not the only sexually violent predator who's been set up in the house.

Neighbors told NBC 7 Mikel Marshall, convicted of lewd acts with a child under 14 just moved out a few weeks ago, but not before moving out some of the neighbors.

“A family that lived on the other side of the hill that had kids and I think they moved and I think it may have been partly because of him,” said next-door neighbor Tim Cook. He added, “I understand people’s concerns, I don’t really like it. Around here we seemed to be treated as, you know, they’re out there, they’re crazy people who live out in the mountains.”

Smith's placement comes less than two weeks after the department placed SVP Michael Joseph Martinez, 65, at a location in Boulevard.

Martinez will move into the home down the road within the next couple of weeks. He'll join six registered sex offenders in town -- a town with just roughly 300 people.

“They should be punished," Cook said. "I mean, I wouldn’t mind living up there, it’s gorgeous."

Smith has two prior rape convictions and also served time in prison for molesting a child under 14 in the 90s.

The schools closest to the proposed address include Clover Flat Elementary School and Jacumba Elementary School.

Supervisor Dianne Jacob, who represents the rural East County community responded to the placement with the following statement: "Backcountry families are fed up with the state sticking sexually violent predators these worst of the worst in their quiet communities. These sick individuals are beyond rehabilitation and placing them in any community undermines public safety and puts a huge strain on taxpayers."

A public forum regarding the proposed location will be held on Friday, April 27 at 9 a.m. at San Diego Superior Court's Department 2102 before it is finalized. Public comments will be heard.

Residents who can't make it to the public hearing can send comments on the proposed placement via email, phone or mail through April 11. Comments can be sent to, or through the number (858) 495-3619.

Public comment can also be mailed to the following address:

SVP Release/SAFE Task Force

9425 Chesapeake Drive

San Diego, CA 92123

To get alerts when a sex offender moves in or out of your neighborhood, click here.

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