Gang crime increases in upscale beach towns

FOX 5 San Diego Staff
March 31, 2010

SOLANA BEACH, Calif. – Gang crime and violence are on the rise in two of San Diego County’s most laid-back and upscale beach towns, deputies said.

According to sheriff’s Deputy Matt Clay, gang-related crimes have spiked in the last few months, but it’s unclear why.

“La Colonia Eden Gardens” calls Solana Beach home, while “Barrio Encinitas” is in Encinitas and has about 50 members, Clay said. Both gangs have been around for about 50 years. They typically lay low and usually fight and vandalize each other’s cars, he said.

Investigators have connected the gangs to a stabbing on March 8 that left four people injured.

Both gangs have staked out their territories by spray-painting or tagging graffiti on community buildings, benches and curbs, Clay said.

Catalina Salgado, owner of a Solana Beach family restaurant, has noticed more crimes recently.

“(La Colonia Eden Gardens) are always fighting with Encinitas,” Salgado said. “They’ve come a few times and tagged our restaurants.”

Despite the gang activity, Salgado takes pride in her community.

“My mom always said, ‘I would die of a broken heart if I had to live someplace else,'” Salgado said.

To report crimes and other incidents to the San Diego Sheriffs Department, click here.

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