RANCHO SANTA FE — Overall, the calls from citizens for assistance from the Rancho Santa Fe Patrol were down from last year, but burglaries were up, said Patrol Chief Matt Wellhouser in his yearly report to the Association at its Feb. 2 meeting.Of the five major crimes tracked, burglary, robbery, grand theft, auto thefts and assaults, burglary and auto theft were up, he said.
“Last year we recorded 28 burglaries, three were vehicles and 24 were residential,” he said. “Most of the burglaries were committed by the suspect entering through an unlocked door.”
Last year, there were six residential burglaries all year, according to a handout Wellhouser distributed.
“Robberies decreased and grand theft remained the same,” he said.
In addition, there were two “hot prowls,” which is when a burglar enters while the residents are at home, he said.
“There was one commercial burglary. Six of the burglaries involved forced entry. Last year (2011) 24 percent of the residential burglaries involved forced entry.”
For the calendar year 2011, the patrol responded to 2,984 calls for service, down 11 percent from last year.
The average response time to a call was 6 minutes, 12 seconds, he said. In 2011, the patrol recorded six vandalism cases, 11 petty thefts and nine grand thefts.
The patrol investigated two assaults, which was up by one case from last year, he said.
Alarm calls accounted for about 18.5 percent of all calls handled. The patrol responded to 553 of them last year. That number was down from 620 the year before. Three of them were actual burglaries. In 114 cases, the alarms were canceled before the patrol arrived. Three of the alarms were actual burglaries. In comparison to last year, there was a 10.8 percent decrease in alarm calls.
Last year the patrol responded to 107 traffic collisions. There was no change in the number from the year before.
There were 22 injury and 85 non-injury collisions compared to 24 injury and 83 non-injury collisions in 2010.
“Any traffic collision makes a big mess of traffic,” he said.
The main causes are excessive speed, 44 percent; right of way violations, 18 percent; and driving under the influence, 14 percent, he said.
“We actively work with the CHP to target areas of concern in regard to traffic safety,” he said. “This includes direction and support of enforcement units, both the regular beat units and supplemental overtime units,” he said.
He said the patrol assisted the sheriff and CHP with 395 calls and the fire department with 564.
“About 15 percent of the patrol’s activity is field generated by our officers,” he said.
There are a few distressed, uninhabited homes in the Covenant that the patrol keeps an eye on, he said.
“Our problem is that juveniles find them and use them as a party spot,” he said.
Wellhouser said the patrol is working on response times and is doing more training with Homeland Security.
He said the patrol has been used as a model for homeowner associations across the nation and was once contacted by a congressional subcommittee to learn how it operates.
“It is very unique and works very, very well,” he said. “We try to present ourselves as ambassadors for the HOA.”
The patrol provides service 24 hours a day, seven days a week and is located at 16936 El Fuego. It is dispatched from NorthComm a joint powers dispatch agency at the same address.