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Old - DO NOT USE - The Coast News Rancho Santa Fe

Report shows crime ‘steady’ in Ranch since last year

RANCHO SANTA FE — During the last RSF Association meeting, rather than holding it in the morning hours, it was held promptly at 6 p.m. It was a good turnout, with many attendees.

In the course of the meeting, Patrol Chief Matthew Wellhouser presented the 2014 semi-annual RSF Patrol Report.

Wellhouser took his seat at the front of the room explaining that the report was an update for the months of January to June, while doing comparisons to the same timeframe in 2013.

Its annual report, he explained, will have more extensive information. He called the semi-annual a snapshot picture.

“So far this year, we’ve handled almost 2,300 calls. And we had some crime unfortunately,” he said.

To date there have been 18 burglaries which were referred to the RSF Patrol.

“The breakdown is 11 residential, three commercial and four vehicles; and, it is pretty steady compared to last year.”

Wellhouser said he normally doesn’t like to compare these sorts of numbers too early as a determining factor, as the last six months of the year could change for either the better or worse.

“It’s best to wait to the end of the year to see how we are doing in that regard,” he said. Wellhouser continued, “What concerned me though was about half of our burglaries, the crooks just walked right into the house. I would like to remind everybody to lock your house and turn your alarm system on.”
Wellhouser went on to say that the crimes in Rancho Santa Fe are deemed as opportunistic. Time and time again, he said, crooks take the easy way in and the easy way out of a property.

Locking up and securing a home is necessary.

“We conducted over 17,000 home security checks for members in the 6-month period and will continue to do that,” he said, noting how they are getting more calls and residents are using the service.

Board Treasurer Kim Eggleston asked Wellhouser whether or not a driveway gate entry would be a deterrent to thieves.

Wellhouser responded it would to some degree.

“If your property lends itself to it and you can put a gate in front of the house it can be a deterrent,” he said, adding how it needs to be in working condition.

A pattern Wellhouser has noticed in criminal activity is drop-offs. He told the board that criminals are dropping their friends off near the home to be burglarized, and after the crime is completed, they’ll text their buddy to come pick them up.

“The basic premise of crime prevention is the harder you make it for a crook to get into your house, and notwithstanding gates and so forth, lock the doors and make your house look lived in when you are not there,” he said.

If residents do these things, they probably won’t be a target; and, when a property is more difficult to access, thieves will go elsewhere.

An attendee asked if there was a difference for thieves breaking into a home via the front or the back of the home, especially if the rear was near a horse trail.

Wellhouser didn’t see a big difference.

“They get in the easiest way,” he answered. “If you have a house near the trails, and you’re concerned about that, make it more difficult to get into the house.”

Wellhouser’s mantra was: Lock the doors, lock the windows and set the alarm.

“So many houses have them (alarm systems) but people don’t turn them on. It’s a great tool, so if you have it, use it.”