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Safety concerns at Del Monte Beach in Monterey

Del Monte Beach is a popular spot for bonfires and tourists. It’s also home to many Monterey residents like Sean Brownlee and his wife.

“If you look around, this is one of the most beautiful places on the planet,” said Brownlee.

Brownlee runs the Del Monte Beach Nextdoor page. It’s a digital neighborhood watch group. He said now more than ever residents are concerned about their safety.

Last week, Brownlee said a city clean-up employee found a hypodermic needle on the boardwalk.

“We see children here all the time just playing here on the beach. It’s sad to think that someone might actually step on a needle and be seriously injured,” said Brownlee.

Brownlee said unfortunately this is just one more thing that’s happening at the beach. Last March, residents were on edge after a Soledad man was shot and killed.

“We know that it was two groups of people that had some sort of verbal altercation that unfortunately resulted in this violence,” said Monterey Chief of Police Dave Hober in an interview after the crime.

As a result Monterey police increased beach patrols and started cracking down on late night bonfires. Neighbors report often hearing fighting, screaming and cars being broken into.

“I know the perception is that we haven’t been seen out there or not very much. However, in 2014 we wrote almost 800 citations on the beach track,” said Lt. Marty Hart after the shooting.

Still, residents like Brownlee said safety is top priority and something needs to be done fast.

“It’s pretty scary. It’s really sad because a lot of people love to come here, a lot of visitors come to this beach,” said Brownlee.

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