San Clemente to close beaches earlier, hire more deputies after 3 Marines beaten by crowd

David González Image
Thursday, June 22, 2023
San Clemente hire more deputies after three marines beaten by crowd
San Clemente will be closing beaches earlier this summer as part of its plan to reduce crime after dark there.

SAN CLEMENTE, Calif. (KABC) -- If you plan to spend the night on a San Clemente beach this summer, you may have to leave a little earlier.

The city is making changes to make their beaches safer following a spike in criminal activity, including the beating of three Marines by a crowd of teenagers last month.

Many residents are excited about the beach season, when they can enjoy one of Southern California's beautiful beaches and ride the waves.

"Super awesome. The beaches are what make it great," said Aidan Sautner, a San Clemente resident.

But the city's mayor said San Clemente's beaches aren't always so perfect, especially when the sun goes down.

"It's dangerous late at night. We don't have lifeguards there. There's a lot of illegal activity going on late at night, so it helps us enforce all of that if we close our beach a little earlier at 10 instead of midnight," said Mayor Chris Duncan.

Duncan said enforcing the new rule has been challenging, but they're in the process of hiring four new Orange County Sheriff's deputies who will work as beach patrol.

"These deputies are going to be focused right here, right in our beach areas. Allow the other deputies to handle the things in the rest of town, and they'll be able to stay here in our beach areas to enforce things like the beach closure," said Duncan.

The city has said the change in beach hours won't impact most locals or visitors and many residents are happy with the move.

"I'm glad they're taking action about it if they feel that way. It's better than nothing if they feel there's issues," said Sautner.

San Clemente resident Justin Aldridge agrees.

"I think it's a great idea. It makes you feel like you're safe," he said.

In another attempt to increase security, the City Council will vote on a contract related to hiring private security during a meeting Tuesday night, Duncan said.