Vandalism on the rise in Pacific Highlands Ranch parks

Park property has been vandalized multiple times in Pacific Highlands Ranch.
(Karen Billing)

Since Pacific Highlands Ranch Community Park opened in April 2019, the San Diego Parks and Recreation Department has spent roughly $10,000 on repairs to damages resulting from vandalism, including labor costs. The city is asking for the public’s help in putting a stop to costly and damaging offenses in the neighborhood’s parks.

In the past year, Pacific Highlands Ranch Community Park has had roughly 13 documented incidents of vandalism, trespassing or violence. Incidents of vandalism include the fence around the pump track being cut, signs being torn off, graffiti, fires in bathroom stalls, pulling of the fire alarms in the bathrooms, etching of picnic tables and damage to playground equipment.

The pump track was closed for several months last year for the construction of a higher 12-foot fence to discourage use of the track after hours. The new fence was cut within days of the track’s reopening in December, the vandals caught in the act on park surveillance video.

The discovery play area at Pacific Highlands Ranch Community Park.
The discovery play area at Pacific Highlands Ranch Community Park.
(Karen Billing)

In addition to vandalism at the community park, the neighborhood parks of Solana Ranch, Torrey Meadows and Del Sur have also seen an uptick in vandalism in the past five months including graffiti, burnt toilet seats, sand-filled toilets, broken baby changing stations, torn off bathroom stall doors and defecation all over bathrooms.

According to the city, site supervisors have been working closely with the San Diego Police Department’s Community Relations Officer John Briggs to address the ongoing issues, which has resulted in some of the vandals and assailants being caught and prosecuted.

The department is asking for the public to help be its “eyes and ears” by reporting any unusual activity in the parks by calling the Pacific Highlands Ranch Recreation Center at (858) 538-8184.