ENCINITAS — Thefts, trouble and alcohol-fueled crimes increase with summertime events and tourism, but the Sheriff’s Encinitas Station Coastal Enforcement Team (CET) is coming up with new ways to combat crime on the coast this season.
A team of eight deputies have begun a summer enforcement campaign, working seven-days-a-week through Labor Day — a beat that stretches from Solana Beach to north Encinitas to help ensure a pleasant and safe atmosphere for residents, visitors and business owners in the downtown and coastal areas.
“The tourists don’t just go into the sand,” said Sgt. Karen Stubkjaer of the Encinitas Sheriff’s Station. “Our goal is to provide a safe and enjoyable environment for our residents and visitors.”
Stubkjaer supervises CET, which began enforcement of the beat June 10.
“We have a completely new philosophy this year,” she said. “That philosophy includes more education and high visibility of the deputies.”
“We’re educating people, talking to people and being proactive instead of reactive.”
She said that during the summer there is an increase of alcohol related crimes, including drunk driving, due to the increase of people heading to the beaches.
Some of the other crimes that increase during the summer include thefts from cars. To help combat those thefts and burglaries, the CET will be patrolling the Cedros area of Solana Beach and downtown Encinitas.
Stubkjaer said that if deputies see someone leaving a cell phone or other valuable device in their car, they will alert them on the possibility of thieves.
This year’s program is also implementing Sheriff Bill Gore’s Intelligence Led Policing model in which crime analysts seek out crime trend areas, and pass along those hot spots to the team.
Stubkjaer said that if vehicle burglaries were identified in a certain area, then the coastal team might dress in plain clothes and saturate that area.
Deputy Matt Carpenter is one of the CET deputies who patrolled the beach areas June 17.
“We already know where the problems are going to be,” he said. “They are (Coast Highway) 101 and D, and D and 2nd streets.”
Carpenter said a lot of tourists could be in those areas and the goal is to stop the crimes before they happen. He has contacted about 10 business owners so far in the general hot spot areas.
“We park our cars and get out and talk to people; listen, store it in our minds and deal with it,” Carpenter said.
He added that the backsides of some businesses face an alley, and the alleyway becomes a hangout where people drink or do drugs.
“We’re really hitting the alleyways hard. We want people and their kids to be able to walk and not step on a hypodermic needle or get bothered by intoxicated people. We want them to be able to enjoy themselves,” he said.
He said that since the summer enforcement campaign began, they have already arrested some people in the alley for violating parole.
He said that some businesses close early in the evening, and when owners return some of the problems they have reported is finding that people have defecated on the side of the building, broken a window or left a pile of cigarette butts.
A resident on Edgeburt Drive near Coast Highway 101 (who asked to not be identified) said that she gets a little worried sometimes when she drives to her house late at night because of the activity that takes place on her dead-end street that is located behind a bar.
Another resident on the same street also said she has seen people fish-tailing out of the bar and that it’s common for people to hang out in the open field after the bar closes, hopping residential fences and littering.
She was glad to hear that CET plans to target the area.
Bobby Virk, owner of a 7-Eleven on D Street and Coast Highway 101, called the sheriff’s department after encountering a disruptive customer who refused to leave the store.
“He was drunk,” Virk said. “We don’t serve alcohol to people like that. That guy was screaming at everybody that walked by. He’s representing my business in the worst possible way.”
Virk said the sheriff’s department is communicating daily with him, as part of the summer patrol program.
“It’s working,” he said.
Virk said that in the past when there was an issue with a customer and the police were called, the customer would already be gone or hiding by the time authorities arrived.
“Now the response time is better and they actually park and patrol the lots,” he said. “They’re patrolling and walking the alleys, which have historically been a problem for us.”
Captain Sherri Sarro said in a release that the summer campaign was not expected to generate overtime hours for its deputies.