Community takes notice of National City Police Department's storefront outside of Plaza Bonita mall

Storefront was empty for years

NATIONAL CITY, Calif. - The National City Police Department's first community storefront outside of a South Bay mall is already getting the attention of shoppers and criminals.

The storefront is located outside one of the busiest malls in San Diego County -- Westfield Plaza Bonita in National City. The storefront is across from the bus stop near the mall's eastern entrance.

National City police Lt. Graham Young said the mall built the storefront for the department in 2008 at no cost to taxpayers. However, budget woes kept the NCPD from moving in until last December.

"The current chief really wanted to push the community involvement, get back to community oriented policing," said Young. "The chief has this motto: 'no call too small.'"

The community storefront also makes police more accessible to more of National City. The storefront is on the opposite side of town from police headquarters.

"They don't want to make it all the way down to the police department, they can come in here," said Young.

It has already paid off, as Young said police have seen a decrease in auto thefts at the mall, which is easily the busiest place in the city.

The storefront followed Chula Vista police, who opened one in the Otay Ranch Town Center in 2011. San Diego police used to have multiple storefronts, but budget cuts forced them to close most of them.

Young said the Plaza Bonita location is open for good. They're hosting a prescription drug take back day April 26 and may even do gun buybacks in the future.

"Anything that's going to benefit the community, we're open to here," said Young.

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