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Question of security arises again after vandals hit park

Drag racing in La Jolla Shores has residents shifting gears to find new ways to beef up security.

On Sunday, Feb. 26, around 2:30 a.m., police responded to a report of hot rodding in the Kellogg Park parking lot.

They were told by park neighbors, awakened by loud muffler noise, that two cars had been drag racing in the parking lot, jumping the curb and doing wheelies on the north grassy area, tearing deep ruts in the surface, before exiting onto El Paseo Grande at high speeds.

A bathroom at the park was vandalized with spraypaint, and a concrete trash can had been knocked over.

Police told neighbors there had been drag racing on the sand of La Jolla Shores beach the previous evening.

San Diego Police Department Lt. Dan Christman said an investigation is continuing into the incident.

“The damage to the grass was pretty considerable,” said Christman. “Investigating officers said the vandalism was undocumented tagger graffiti, not from a documented gang or a tagger gang that we know.”

This was the first such incident reported to police. Investigators did not get a license plate number from the cars, only a general description. Even a partial plate number would aid police greatly in tracking down the owners of the vehicles involved.

John Hudkins, the city’s manager of shoreline parks and beaches, said occurences of graffiti and of someone driving on the grass at Kellogg Park are rare.

“We’ve really just had two instances of folks driving vehicles on the turf,” he said. “We’ve had just minor graffiti on the comfort station to the north in the park. The southern one has been relatively untouched.”

Hudkins estimated the damage caused at Kellogg Park to be less than $400. Repairs will be handled by city staff, which will take time away from normal maintenance.

It’s difficult to do too much in the way of enhancing park security when the city is operating with a skeleton crew for parks, said Hudkins.

“The coastline is absolutely lacking in regulation and enforement in the current times,” he said. “Each of these occurences brings to light that fact, that there’s an acute need for regulation or police for significant illegal behavior in our park sites.”

The Parks Department had considered installing a gate at the parking lot but decided against it, because a gate might present other hazards.

“If we had a gate but no

enforcement presence,” Hudkins said, “we fear they would ride right over all the turf or through the landscaping

to get their vehicles out