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Posted on March 24 at 7:58 p.m.
This has been a problem for YEARS. I first complained in 2007 about the noise, harassment, and petty crime I witnessed on a daily basis from my office at the Fithian building (629 State). I emailed many on the city council to no avail - to no response even. Only one council member felt enough civic duty, perhaps, to respond to my grievances. I met with said council member, now 7 years ago, and had my concerns not only as a citizen, but Downtown Association member, and Downtown employer finally heard and I led an impromptu guided tour of the deteriorating situation at the lawless enclave by Lot 10's back entrance. Yet nothing ever changed. It so shamefully has been allowed to proliferate, no wonder it is out of control.
This haven of illegal activity has been known to the SBPD, as in the many years since 2007, I have continually called to complain and to report the brazenly conspicuous criminal activity occurring on our most frequented of streets.
There's so much crime that occurs in the alleyway between Blush and Urban Outfitters, leading to the State St. entrance of Lot 10 that I've called the SBPD on countless occasions to report highly intoxicated "travelers" loitering on and around the steps leading into the lot, as well as to report the blatant drug use in full public view.
Upon leaving my office, which in the winter is sometimes as dark as the dead of night, I made many a nervous walk to my car in Lot 10, as I passed an enormous amount of drug use and possibly drunk but definitely disorderly "travelers". I have even called the SBPD to report an unresponsive man, who in all appearances was deceased or close thereto, on the steps leading to Lot 10. I have called the SBPD sometimes on a daily basis to report such illegal activity yet no action was ever taken. Out of concerns for personal safety, I began to take the less direct route around the Verizon store through the stairwell that never ceases to wreak of fresh human urine rather than to assume the personal risk of walking alone and in the dark through such lawlessness.
Considering the fact that there is a small army of motorcycle traffic cops who seemingly spend all day writing tickets in that particular lot, especially during the SBIFF, it's amazing that none seem to venture beyond its walls down to the conspicuously crime-infested refuge that lies at the bottom of Lot 10's westward steps.
I am both thankful that Cam is finally taking action on this ever-exacerbating issue but profoundly concerned that it takes such a ridiculously long time to address a known hotbed of crime in the heart of downtown Santa Barbara. Through inaction, this has been allowed to occur. It's almost as if community safety and crime prevention are secondary goals to the SBPD, second only to iron-fisted enforcement of jaywalking (really?!) and a barrage of minor traffic infractions so aggressively pursued in our city lots.
The SBPD has failed to properly react to the community at large.
On Cops Take on ‘Urban Travelers’