RSF Patrol annual report: Burglaries down, traffic collisions up

Traffic collisions are down at the Calzada Del Bosque, Linea Del Cielo and Rambla De Las Flores since stop signs were installed last year.
(Karen Billing)

Crime continues to decline in the Rancho Santa Fe Covenant according to the Rancho Santa Fe Patrol’s annual report.

In 2019, there was a decrease in burglaries from 16 incidents in 2018 to eight in 2019 (four residential and four commercial). By comparison in 2017, there were 15 residential burglaries, four commercial burglaries and seven vehicle burglaries.

At the Rancho Santa Fe Association’s Feb. 6 meeting, RSF Patrol Chief Matt Wellhouser said most Covenant crimes remain opportunistic in nature, “I’m very happy to report that more people are locking their doors and using their alarm systems which is a great deterrent,” he said.

The Patrol received 4,200 calls for service, a decrease of 239 calls from 2018. Their average response time is 6:04, faster than last year, and they drove over 116,000 miles and performed over 31,000 security and vacation checks.

Wellhouser said traffic remains the biggest complaint he hears from residents. There are many requests for help with speed enforcement, particularly related to the weekend car meet-ups in the village.

The RSF Association has a contract with the California Highway Patrol for supplemental overtime hours in addition to the CHP’s regular enforcement. Input from the community and the RSF Patrol informs where the CHP focuses its enforcement efforts, which includes targeting the Saturday speeding trend on streets such as La Granada, Via de la Valle, Paseo Delicias and La Gracia.

According to Wellhouser, there was an increase in injury collisions in the Covenant— from 27 in 2018 to 43 in 2019.

In the total of 65 injury and non-injury crashes that the Patrol responded to, speeding remains the leading cause, followed by right-of-way violations and driving under the influence.

Wellhouser said he is pleased about the decrease in accidents at one problem intersection—the once dysfunctional junction of Linea Del Cielo, Calzada Del Bosque and Ramblas De Las Flores where the county put in new stop signs in May 2019.

In prior years Wellhouser said the intersection was averaging about five accidents every year and, in 2019, there were two before the stop sign was installed and only one after.

“That stop sign has made a big difference in the safety of that intersection,” Wellhouser said. “I’ve gotten a lot of positive comments on it and I hope it continues that way.”