The Business Buzz: Community —Private Patrols Boost Downtown Safety
Allied Universal Security Services private patrols provides to the City of San Clemente has resulted in a "huge number of resolved incidents, totaling 1,008 interactions" in its first three months.
By Jim Wynne & Arrow Santos
In a move to enhance urban safety and foster a wholesome community environment, San Clemente’s downtown area has recently seen the introduction of private security patrols.
Spearheaded by Community Development Director Adam Atamian at the encouragement of the San Clemente Chamber of Commerce, this initiative has significantly impacted the community for the better during the first quarter of operation.
Provided by Allied Universal Security Services, roving teams of two security guards cover a circuit (by foot and vehicle) that includes Avenida Del Mar, the Beach Trail, and the beaches from Califia to Poche.
Patrolling 24 hours per day, seven days a week, the newly released interaction statistics for their first three months on the job have seen a huge number of resolved incidents, totaling 1,008 interactions.
This speaks to the multifaceted and active role these guards serve, far transcending the traditional passive security position that may come to mind when you think of a security guard posted up in a patrol shack waiting for something to happen.
The scope of responsibilities for these downtown patrols includes enforcing laws against sleeping in public and tents/camping on beaches, non-smoking regulations, mitigating public drinking, protecting infrastructure from graffiti and vandalism, and dealing with bikes/e-bikes in non-allowed areas, among many others.
These contributions significantly enhance the city’s safety, aesthetics and overall maintenance upkeep, improving and protecting the quality of life we all love and enjoy.
A pivotal success of these patrols has been collaborating with the Orange County Sheriff’s Department and California State Park Rangers. These coordinated efforts have not only ensured compliance with general public safety measures and ongoing homeless engagements, but also maintained order and safety in our town’s prime areas, especially during peak tourist seasons.
Prior to the private security patrols, OCSD and Park Rangers were responsible for responding to and enforcing all of these incidents while still managing citywide emergency calls.
By implementing the Allied guards, “other department” responses have dropped to a fraction of the total incident numbers. Compared to the 1,008 incidents resolved by security, an additional 243 incidents were resolved by outside response (such as 911 calls, maintenance issues, or other city services) to the downtown region.
This means that just over 80% of all downtown interactions were resolved by the security patrols during the three-month data period provided by the city.
OCSD has commended the patrols for providing additional support in the downtown area. This partnership between city departments and private security underscores San Clemente’s commitment to a safe and welcoming community where crime and public disorder will not be tolerated.
The initial funding for this private security program covers the first six months of patrols (from July through December of 2023), with a one-year contract in place. This period serves as a trial phase, with potential adjustments and expansions planned based on the program’s effectiveness and community feedback.
There have been discussions at City Hall about OCSD having a dedicated deputy (or deputies) assigned to the same downtown coverage area who would eventually take over for the private patrols.
If and when that would occur are still unknown and would be at some point in the non-immediate future, as OCSD would need to fund, hire and train approximately four new deputies to handle the staffing requirements of this specific role.
For residents and business owners seeking more information or wishing to contact the private security patrols directly, visit san-clemente.org/departments-services/public-safety services/private-security-services or call security dispatch at 805.393.0231.
Jim Wynne, president of WynneCRE, is a San Clemente local, San Onofre Surfing Club president, and father of five. Arrow Santos is a San Clemente native, professional writer/photographer and marketing director of WynneCRE.