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Commentary: Why is crime up in Encinitas?

By Julie Thunder

According to FBI crime statistics recently published on SANDAG’s website, it remains true that Encinitas experiences a lower rate of crime than does the wider San Diego region.

That’s the good news.

The bad news, unfortunately, is that things are changing: The city of Encinitas saw the local crime rate rise sharply in 2020.

The tally of what the FBI terms “Index” crimes (a combination of violent crimes and crimes against property), was up 17% per capita in Encinitas, in stark contrast to an 8% decline in the broader region.

Violent crime in Encinitas increased 55%, versus 1% for the region, and Encinitas property crimes were up 12%, versus the region’s decline of 10%.

The FBI documented crime increase comports with anecdotal evidence one hears from residents.

Many believe Encinitas is experiencing more crime, and they may be right.

One’s first reaction to this news might be to suspect the influence of the pandemic and the associated lockdown, or perhaps last year’s social discord on display across the nation.

They would be mistaken. Were it so, we would observe a parallel effect in the data pertaining to other cities and towns. In fact, only one other locality saw a comparable increase in crime: Valley Center, with a population less than 1/6 that of Encinitas, took the top spot, with its index crime rate up 22% — likely a small absolute increase on a very low base.

Without access to more granular data it’s difficult to form a reasoned conclusion about the cause of this increase.

Hopefully it is the result of some local policy misstep. If so, a policy adjustment could lead to a course correction.

Looking back over the prior year, one local government policy shift is noted — Encinitas became more accommodating toward the homeless population, likely resulting in growth of that cohort among us.

Many residents believe that more homelessness results in more crime — perhaps it’s true.

We need to know for sure.

This is an issue that demands more scrutiny. The public deserves to know what is happening and to have a say in what will be done about it.

A sound understanding of the causes of crime in Encinitas cannot be developed without thorough knowledge of the facts and circumstance.

To avoid misapprehension of the issue, the City Council should communicate to the San Diego County Sheriff its desire that full public disclosure be made of the reports and underlying data on which the FBI summary was based.

Naturally, such data should be anonymized to the extent necessary to protect the innocent and to avoid interference with ongoing investigations.

Assessing the problem of crime with incorrect information can lead to bad policy decisions.

If the surge evident in the latest report resulted from increased homelessness, we need to know that.

If not, we need to discern the true origin of this social deterioration.

The City Council should enable the residents of Encinitas to have access to this information, in order to shed light on whatever the truth may be.

Julie Thunder is a former Encinitas mayoral candidate.

8 comments

Jason Michelski May 29, 2021 at 10:51 pm

– 2020 was the 2nd lowest crime on record in Encinitas. Were it not for the incredibly low crime in 2019, 2020 would in fact be our lowest year. This is not just for the last 5 years but since 2008 that the data is available.
– Crime is down ~30% since Blakespear took office in 2016.
– 2020 had roughly half as much crime as 2012 under Stocks & Gaspar.
– The increase in crime in 2020 wasn’t even the greatest increase we have seen from year to year and nowhere near the high. I must have missed the opinion pieces blaming the homeless at the time.
– 2020 per capita crime stats put our crime rate on par with Solana Beach, much lower than neighbors Carlsbad and Del Mar (even without the fair and other events).

Jason Michelski May 28, 2021 at 10:09 am

Wow, this opinion piece is just a repeat of your losing campaign platform. It didn’t work then, and thank goodness the majority of the community does not fall for this paranoia and fear you are stoking. Blakespear has done an excellent job and has my vote for higher office!

Liz777 May 28, 2021 at 9:32 am

A quick Google of Encinitas crime rates makes it obvious crime increased in Encinitas at least partly due to pandemic-related factors (property crimes against shut-down businesses, shoplifting against big-box stores still open, for example). The author clearly didn’t do any research before drawing her conclusions.

saveleucadia May 28, 2021 at 4:28 pm

Ha ha , “a quick google” is really how all problems are solved

Wanna make a liberal mad ? Tell the truth
Want to make a republican mad? Lie to them

Which one are you?

Liz777 May 28, 2021 at 9:24 am

This is incredibly faulty logic: “One’s first reaction to this news might be to suspect the influence of the pandemic and the associated lockdown, or perhaps last year’s social discord on display across the nation. They would be mistaken. Were it so, we would observe a parallel effect in the data pertaining to other cities and towns.”

Crime related to factors associated with the pandemic doesn’t automatically strike all cities and towns equally! Encinitas likely has characteristics that make it more vulnerable to an increase in crime related to these factors. It’s very likely that the increase in crime is a result of the pandemic and the lockdown, increased homelessness and economic issues, etc.

SSurfer May 28, 2021 at 8:42 am

On Wednesday, May 26th, Captain Taft, conveniently parked on the Council meeting Zoom call during the discussion about extending the lease for the divisive Homeless Parking Lot, claimed that Encinitas was if not the safest, certainly one of the safest cities in North County. He downplayed crime, homeless crime and our growing drug crime, which has resulted in numerous overdoses and at least three reported deaths in recent months.

A responsible government would acknowledge the problem and look for the source and then solutions. Not this Mayor. It’s head in the sand denial, while casting aspersions on the very residents she claims to champion. Catherine Blakespear and her willing to follow blindly council continue their march of destruction on what was once the jewel of north county.

Crime, a drastically increased transient population, drug dealers and overdoses, the Streetscape fiasco and her housing policies are just a few outcomes from her bad policy decisions and dreadful financial management.

Captain Taft’s willingness to cover for her dishonesty is another blow to residents who see and experience the increased crime with their own eyes on a weekly basis.

They’re both a disgrace to their positions.

saveleucadia May 28, 2021 at 4:32 pm

Our entire town is run from fantasy rainbow land. The harsh realities are coming.

Point of fact, both Carlsbad and Solana beach saw problems with STVR and Airbnb and strictly regulated them. Our Council? They saw “no problem”., when the rest of the planet is strictly regulating.

Point of fact: a friend works on Cedros. A homeless person was bothering folks. The cop drove him to Encinitas and dropped him off. Told my friend that’s what he was doing because “Encinitas will just let them bother people”

Welcome to super liberal unqualified Council town. You think Venice Beach got bad just naturally! Every thing they tried to do or ignored we are too

I applaud Julie for having this conversation and all you Blakespeare cronies need to wake up.

It’s not fear when it’s happening.

steve333 May 27, 2021 at 8:49 pm

Blakespear is destroying Encinitas step by step.
Crime, density (which she supports so much she gave a speech about it), overcrowding on the way unless she is stopped, boondoggles like Streetscape which is costing us a fortune and turning 101 into a single lane-does anyone really want this?
The Council is rubber stamping her agenda.

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