ANTIOCH -- When an 8-foot-high retaining wall was installed last summer as a way to prevent quick entrance from a public trail to Knoll Park, Jeremy Neisser didn't think much of it.
But when the masonry work was completed about 16 inches short of his property line on Shannondale Drive and vandals removed a pole and chain-link fence that filled the gap, Neisser's backyard became a shortcut to the southeast Antioch park, frustrating him and his fiancee, Carla.
"We're living in fear, basically. It's unsettling," said Neisser, who moved to the home last March.
Some trying to access Knoll Park, mainly teenagers using the trail behind Williamson Ranch Plaza before and after school, have taken to hopping through his yard to get there -- destroying his fence and trees in the process. The trespassing escalated earlier this month, when the home was burglarized and a surveillance camera system was destroyed.
The wall was installed and paid for by Walmart last summer, after nearby residents complained about the activity in Knoll Park, saying kids were entering from the trail and littering, loitering and up to no good, Public Works Director Ron Bernal said. The wall cost about $50,000, he said.
Antioch Public Works and law enforcement officials are working with Neisser to find a solution. Bernal says the city plans on closing that gap in the wall.
"It's an unfortunate consequence of some disrespectful school kids," Bernal said. "Even when we close it off, it's going to help some, but not totally."
Antioch is also looking at options such as shrubs or planter boxes as a deterrent on the trail side of the wall, or grading the dirt to make it steeper.
Larger people who can't fit through the gap in the fence are often hopping the fence, Neisser said. He has tried to place a tree inside a planter box near the fence as a deterrent, but it was ripped out and thrown in the stream by the trail. Other solutions he's tried include placing grease on the fence. Pleas for trespassers to stop have been met with profanity and hostility, he said.
"It's one of those situations where you want to fight for your privacy and property, but then you worry they'll come back with 20 friends," Neisser said. "I'm sure the city is annoyed by me, but I shouldn't be in this situation in the first place."
Police cited a trespasser while at Neisser's house last week, and "catching a kid" has helped keep things "relatively quiet" the past few days, he said.
There are some low spots along the wall, not just by Neisser's house, that are being used to enter Knoll Park, said Councilman Gary Agopian, who visited the area last week along with Councilman Tony Tiscareno.
Some are tearing out pieces of an old retaining wall in the area to use as steps both to clear the wall and as steppingstones to cross the creek by the trail, Agopian said.
"I think the city is highly sensitive to the situation. I'm pretty confident this will get resolved," Agopian said.
Residents around the park are also working to bulk up the area's Neighborhood Watch group.
Contact Paul Burgarino at 925-779-7164. Follow him at Twitter.com/paulburgarino.