RANCHO SANTA FE — There was a significant increase in home burglaries in Rancho Santa Fe in 2009. According to Rancho Santa Fe Patrol Chief Matt Wellhouser, there were 18 residential burglaries in 2009 compared to only seven in 2008. Commercial burglaries decreased slightly, 15 in 2009 compared to 17 in 2008. “All these crimes tend to be opportunistic in nature,” said Wellhouser during his annual report to the Association’s board of directors Feb. 4.
“During these difficult times, is the economy a factor?” Association President Bill Beckman asked.
Wellhouser said that it was, and that forced entry had also increased. “There were 20 forced entries last year and only 13 the year before. People are more desperate. We saw that with commercial burglaries, too. There was a bank robbery (at Bank of America) and they tried to take the ATM machine at Stumps. We normally don’t see that.”
Last year there were eight crimes involving vehicles. “If the car is locked it’s burglary, if it’s open its grand theft,” Wellhouser explained.
The good news in the annual report was that traffic collisions remained steady — there were 22 in 2009 versus 21 in 2008. Both years showed a significant decrease, as there were 158 in 2004. “Speed is the main factor in collisions and we’re focused on that,” Wellhouser said.
If a call is made to the Patrol, the response time is 5 minutes and 37 seconds. According to Wellhouser’s report, there were 29,000 security checks made during 2009 and the patrol drove more than 100,000 miles patrolling the community.
Beckman thanked the Patrol. “We’re working diligently to get permanent offices for the Patrol,” he added.
The Patrol has been in existence since 1976; it grew out of the Country Deputy Program. All patrol officers hired have a police background. “We go through background checks, the same as the county,” Manager Pete Smith said.
In other Association news, 100 copies of the new book “Rancho Santa Fe: The Town the Railroad Built” were purchased from the Rancho Santa Historical Society. The new book will be given as a gift to new homeowners in the Covenant. Staff plans to develop a program of sending new members a welcome letter from the Association president on behalf of the board and the book. “It will be a nice addition to the pile of paperwork that is handed them,” Smith said.
The next Association meeting is scheduled for Feb. 18.