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Chula Vista business owners seek safety, security along Third Avenue

Some business owners along Chula Vista’s Third Avenue say they’re seeing more drunken behavior and increased crime over the past couple years. KPBS Speak City Heights reporter Jacob Aere says a newly formed group is looking for solutions.

A new group of South Bay business owners and regional leaders met for the second time in three months on Monday.

Their goal is to find solutions to what they said are growing safety problems along the Third Avenue business corridor in Chula Vista.

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Chula Vista Brewery owner Tim Parker has seen more instances of broken windows, vandalism and public intoxication over recent years.

He’s had his storefront glass smashed multiple times.

“You definitely need a bigger police presence. I think they need to be there more, not just after we call, but (be) there already to make the people uncomfortable on that block that shouldn’t be on the block,” Parker said.

People walk in front of Chula Vista Brewery on Third Avenue, Jan. 24, 2022.
Jacob Aere
People walk in front of Chula Vista Brewery on Third Avenue, Jan. 24, 2022.

Local businesses need to do a better job patrolling what’s happening in and around their establishments, according to Parker. He said heavy drinking and drug use are frequent problems.

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Parker also said some of the issues in the area stem from the area’s growing homeless population, especially at night time.

“I’ve been noticing myself a lot more drug dealers have come to the block,” he said. “If you saturate the neighborhood with a bunch of homeless, of course a lot of times they’re probably there because of the drugs. So, sadly a drug dealer will probably go to where they're at to sell the drugs.”

Vogue Tavern owner Gonzalo Quintero speaks to KPBS in front of his dining establishment, Jan. 24, 2022.
Jacob Aere
Vogue Tavern owner Gonzalo Quintero speaks to KPBS in front of his dining establishment, Jan. 24, 2022.

Vogue Tavern owner Gonzalo Quintero said he sees the homeless population as less of a problem, but agrees that more security will help the busy corridor.

In fact, he’s on a committee with the Third Avenue Village Association that will be focusing on new safety programs beginning this spring.

“We're looking in the future at providing … closed-circuit television to have an eye in the sky, to help people patrol,” he said. “We’re looking on the weekends and in the evening at having private security.”

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Quintero added that part of the plan could even include a new police substation nearby Third Avenue.

The Chula Vista Police Department encourages members of the public to call and report crimes as they said it will help them address the problems and assign more resources to the area.

Cars drive on both sides of the road past the Third Avenue Village Chula Vista sign in the center divider, Jan. 24, 2022.
Jacob Aere
Cars drive on both sides of the road past the Third Avenue Village Chula Vista sign in the center divider, Jan. 24, 2022.

KPBS has created a public safety coverage policy to guide decisions on what stories we prioritize, as well as whose narratives we need to include to tell complete stories that best serve our audiences. This policy was shaped through months of training with the Poynter Institute and feedback from the community. You can read the full policy here.