The Coast News Group

Patrol chief gives ‘snapshot’ of activity

RANCHO SANTA FE — Chief Matt Wellhouser, of the Rancho Santa Fe Patrol, gave a report of its activities to the directors of the Association at its Aug. 4 meeting.
“This is a snapshot of our activity for six months,” he said. “For the most part, there is not a lot of difference than the previous year.”
He said for the first six months of 2011, the patrol responded to 1,568 calls for assistance, reflecting a 2 percent decrease from the same period last year.
Of those calls, there were 295 alarm calls, an increase of 17 calls, compared to the first six months of 2010, he said.
“Alarms account for about 18.8 percent of the total calls handled,” he said. “Of the alarms handled, one was an actual burglary, the remainder being false.”
Wellhouser said there was an increase of one burglary from last year, recording 14 so far this year.
“We had one hot prowl burglary when someone came in when someone was home,” he said. “I think a dog scared the crook away. Dogs are a great burglar alarm system. They are pretty fool proof and you don’t have to turn them off and on.”
That statement evoked a few chuckles from Wellhouser and the board since silencing barking dogs account for a few calls to the patrol.
“The types of burglaries are broken down to 13 residential and one vehicle,” he said. “Suspects used force to gain entry in 30 percent of the residential burglaries.”
He said construction sites continue to be popular places from which to steal, with thieves taking tools and materials.
Grand theft decreased from five to four and vandalism calls were up from zero to three.
“Vehicle accidents jumped up a little bit,” he said.
Total traffic collisions increased by 15 incidents; minor injury accidents decreased by two.
“The increase is attributable to the wetter than normal winter and spring,” he said. “When it rains here, people slide all over the road.”
The number of trespassing calls went from 12 last year at this time to 16 this year. Many of those were non-residents using the trails.
Wellhouser said his officers completed 14,883 security and vacation checks for residents.
He said that 17.5 percent of the calls for assistance were generated by his officers who observed something out of the ordinary led to activity by the patrol.
Rancho Santa Fe Patrol officers assisted the fire department 336 times, the sheriff’s department 173 times and the California Highway Patrol five times.
And there were several sightings of mountain lions reported in the area, one that appeared to be a mother with her cubs.