Policing a natural area surrounded by an urban environment presents unique challenges and opportunities. Problems can arise if the area offers isolation due to its location and/or overgrowth of vegetation because public access is unavailable. If minor problems are not permanently resolved, natural areas can soon become centers of illegal activity. Any illegal activity taking place in a natural area has severe impacts on the nearby public areas and the plants and animals that reside there.
While public safety in the Rose Creek Watershed is generally on par with the entirety of the City of San Diego, Lower Rose Creek in eastern Pacific Beach has developed as a base for criminal activity due to:
- Dense vegetation (primarily invasive species) which provide hiding places for illegal activities and lodging.
- Limited accessibility for police officers as there are no maintained roads or trails.
- Its central location near businesses and residences within walking distance.
Police officers know that the main problems in the creek are centered on the illegal lodging activities. Crimes and arrests range from assaults, theft and drug violations to simple illegal lodging. Arrests and cleanups are not providing a long-term solution to the problem. The presence of this illegal activity and overgrowth of invasive plants in Lower Rose Creek has created an unsafe and unhealthy environment for the general public and native plants and animals that depend on the creek for their survival. Herein lies one of the major challenges of managing the Rose Creek Watershed.