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By Eileen Waters, Capistrano Beach

As a follow-up to our (Capo Cares) Nov. 18 presentation to City Council detailing an increase in reports of code violations, public nuisances and other incidents in the city, a sizeable group of residents gathered recently in the Dana Point Community Center to hear a Neighborhood Watch presentation by Dana Point Police and code enforcement officials.

Police Chief Lt. Russ Chilton and other city staff members explained the process of reporting and coordinating information received from the community into actions that can be taken. He noted that the best way to look out for and report crime is through the Neighborhood Watch framework. For more information, and/or to join or form a Neighborhood Watch group in your neighborhood, contact Sgt. Rich Himmel at Sgt. Himmel will be assisted by Community Services Officer Jill Jackson who can be contacted at

Lt. Chilton said they count on residents to be their “eyes and ears” to track crime, nuisances and code enforcement issues. The police keep records of all complaints and can levy fines for repeated violations.

Citizens are encouraged to report all violations promptly to code enforcement and/or police via phone and email. You will be asked for your name and address, the nature of the violation, the address where it occurred, and if possible, photographic or other evidence that can be gathered without violating the privacy of others. The report is confidential; however, in the unlikely event that a misdemeanor or felony is reported, you will be expected to provide witness testimony.

Mark Sutton, who oversees code enforcement, noted that additional personnel have been added to conduct code enforcement activities, and that complaints can be made via a 24-hour complaint hotline at 949.248.3573. Additional information on code enforcement is available in the community development section of the city’s website at

For emergencies and reports of crimes-in-progress, call 9-1-1.

To report active, non-emergency crimes (such as stealing recyclables from trash cans), misdemeanors or public nuisances, call Police Dispatch at 949.770.6011 and email Chief Chilton at

To report code violations, call Code Enforcement at 949.248.3587. Email Sutton at and Ursula Luna-Reynoso, director of community development, at

For graffiti, call the Graffiti Hotline at 949.248.3573 and email Sutton and Luna-Reynoso.

Let’s work together to keep our community a safe, friendly place to live, work and play.

For more information on Capo Cares—the resident-organized Capistrano Beach neighborhood enhancement committee—email us at or find us online at

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