La Quinta Cove residents concerned for safety

La Quinta, Calif. - In the mid afternoon daylight, the La Quinta Cove is picturesque and quiet.

"I love being here," said La Quinta resident Will Donato, while he was enjoying a day at the dog park. "I love the amenities and I love the way of life. I feel safe here."

But at night, some residents say they're afraid to be out on the streets of the cove.

"The escalating violence and vandalism is what frightens us as citizens of the cove here," said one La Quinta Cove resident.

We spoke with two people who live in the lower part of the cove who say they've experienced violence recently. They didn't want to be identified on camera for fear of becoming targets. Both say shots have been fired close to their homes in recent weeks.

"I have a gentleman that works with me and the shots were fired at him. It was six shots. It was a 9 millimeter. Luckily enough for him, he's still alive."

Another lower cove resident who lives a few blocks away, showed us his neighbors' window with a hole in it from a pellet gun shot.

"Several neighbors have had BB's shot through their windows," he said. "Other people have had damage to their personal property."

They say tires have been slashed, car windows busted with rocks, and pedestrians run off the road.

"We are concerned as a neighborhood because nobody has been arrested to our knowledge."

We went to city hall to see what's being done. The La Quinta city manager - and his assistant who works directly with the sheriff's department that polices La Quinta - say the statistics do not show an increase in crime in the cove. They say that they will work to address these residents concerns.

"As issues like this arise," Assistant to the City Manager Chris Escobedo said, "We work with (the sheriff) on a team basis to investigate and find out what's going on to make sure the residents are properly served."

City Manager Frank Spevacek says more subtle police patrols will be increased to try to catch the vandals in the act.

"Perhaps some bike patrols or foot patrols to see crimes of vandalism and to address that," Spevacek said.

Those living in fear of the violence would seem to prefer a more visible police presence to deter crime.

"I have to tell you, they're punks, and the punks need to be dealt with. It can't be a vigilante type thing. The police need to step in and take care of it and handle it."

Both of the residents we spoke with suggested the city add some lighting to the cove to deter crime at night. However, La Quinta has a "Dark Sky" ordinance. Part of the cove's appeal has always been its clear view of the stars.

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