PLEASURE POINT - Fed up with graffiti, trespassing and late-night shouting matches with loiterers, Mike Inglis has stopped renting his five-bedroom oceanfront home in Pleasure Point.
A Monte Sereno resident, Inglis bought the home at 18 Rockview Drive about two years ago. He rented it to corporate groups for up to $10,000 a week, but now he fears the property is not safe.
By day, the public staircase next to the house gives dozens of surfers a way to the rocky beach. By night, groups of young people blare music, spray-paint the seawall with vulgar graffiti and smash liquor bottles on the rocks.
The vandals have become more brazen. One night in late December, a few people hopped the railing of the lower deck patio. They started a bonfire and destroyed a concrete and rock display.
On April 14, Inglis and his wife spent the day tending to the house and stayed the night.
Around 2 a.m., they heard noises outside. Inglis' wife turned the outdoor flood lights off in an attempt to get them to leave. The vandals yelled at them.
"They said, 'You better be scared. Be afraid,'" according to Inglis.
The next day, sloppy new graffiti was found on the seawall and staircase. He didn't know if teenagers or gangsters had done it.
"It feels like the gangs rule the night. I was going to hose them down, but it's like bringing a garden hose to a gunfight," said Inglis.
Inglis said he turned down offers to rent the house this year because "it's just too unsafe a place."
Although two groups of volunteers have cleaned up the graffiti in recent months, he said the Sheriff's Office has been less than helpful.
He sent emails and letters to authorities asking them to patrol the area more on Friday and Saturday nights. A response from a sergeant referred him to a graffiti removal team.
In December, Inglis stormed into the Live Oak Sheriff's Service Center to get some answers.
Sgt. Joe Clarke visited the home. Clarke, who often surfs in front of the house, said he would keep an eye on the problem.
Clarke said Monday that many beachfront properties in Pleasure Point have vandalism issues. A summer beach patrol is expected to start June 1.
Clarke recommended that neighbors call 911 to report vandalism when it's happening.
Inglis said he had not called 911 in part because he feared retribution from the vandals.
"I wish I could say we'd be there every Friday and Saturday night. But calls for service on a weekend night are usually one after another," Clarke said.
Clarke suggested that Inglis enlist more of his neighbors to watch the property when they are gone.
He also recommended installing visible security cameras. The cameras can discourage criminals and help police identify suspects.
"If I owned that property, I would be just as upset about it. We don't patrol there as much as we can," Clarke said.
A deputy on routine patrol might drive to the cul-de-sac at the end of Rockview, but Clarke said it's unlikely that he or she would descend the staircase without a 911 call. They are too busy.
Graffiti on the seawall should be painted over as soon as it is spotted.
"That's the biggest way to fight it," Clarke said.
Inglis said after the illegal patio bonfire, he hired a builder to raise the lower balcony making it more difficult to climb.