SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - In response to safety concerns, a growing number of downtown San Diego public restrooms are being staffed with armed security guards.
The city of San Diego has added armed guards to secure the public restrooms outside the San Diego Civic Theatre.
The 6-month contract began in April and costs $360,000.00. It’s the latest downtown public restroom location to be staffed with armed security.
Over the winter, armed security guards started being stationed at two other downtown public restroom locations, 13th St. and G St., and Park Blvd. and 11th Ave.
RELATED: City may seek armed guards at Central Library, other parks
The Civic Theater public restrooms have a history of safety issues and a heavy transient population. San Diego police confirm that last fall, a city employee was reportedly beaten by a man who was trying to bring a shopping cart into one of the stalls.
Patrons tell 10News that people are known to use drugs and sleep inside the restrooms. “Some of [the people] have bad tempers so you have to have the means to protect yourself,” says Allstate security guard Herbert Bridges.
He’s one of the new guards outside the Civic Theatre, armed with a 9mm handgun. He says he and his coworkers are also allowed to carry batons and pepper spray.
“We will never use weapons unless it’s absolutely necessary," he adds.
In January, 10News’ Jon Horn broke the story that the city was looking at the possibility putting armed security guards inside various city buildings with heavy transient populations, like the Downtown Library.
The city confirms it’s still several months until that could become a reality.