RSF Patrol provides update on Coffee and Cars enforcement, annual report

The Rancho Santa Fe Patrol acts as a security service for Covenant residents.
(Karen Billing)

The Rancho Santa Fe Patrol continues to work to help manage the Coffee and Cars gathering held every weekend in the village, making sure it continues to be a safe experience for residents and car enthusiasts alike.

The informal event on Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. on Paseo Delicias and Avenida de Acacias took over for the long-running Secret Car Club, which discontinued its village meet-ups in 2017 and now meets in Cielo.

Rancho Santa Fe Association Manager Christy Whalen said while many people enjoy the vitality in the village on Saturday mornings, they do receive occasional complaints about speeding and noise, as well as the difficulty of maneuvering around people standing in the street checking out the collection of vintage and luxury vehicles. Director Phil Trubey emphasized that the noise is a big issue for residents, seemingly starting earlier and earlier on Saturdays—by about 7:30 a.m. he can hear the supercars on Linea Del Cielo.

The sound is a nuisance but the speeding can be dangerous, especially when equestrians are out. Resident Jeff Simmons recounted a recent incident where the driver of a speeding sports car honked at and revved his engine at a young girl on horseback crossing the street near the village. The girl nearly fell off of her horse, he said. Simmons said some education for the car crowd about co-existing with equestrians could be useful: “ It’s incredibly dangerous,” he said.

RSF Patrol Chief Mike Scaramella said they have set some parameters to offer some control over the morning meet-ups. They tapped overtime California Highway Patrol officers to monitor traffic, which resulted in 152 citations issued over the last year for speeding, illegal passing and stop sign violations.

Senior Volunteer and Patrol cars are also parked on the streets leading into the village on Saturdays which helps to slow down traffic and they also employ the use of speed radar trailers.

The Patrol is also looking to add temporary electronic signage that reads: “Loud vehicles, speeding enforced in Rancho Santa Fe.” In addition, Scaramella said they are exploring the use of license plate readers and a sound-activated enforcement system, which was approved by the state last year as a five-year pilot program. The system works like a red light camera, triggered when vehicles exceed 95-decibels.

At the meeting, Scaramella provided the board with the RSF Patrol’s annual report for 2022, sharing that burglaries are down 33%. In 2022 there were a total of 11 burglaries in the Covenant, 10 residential and one commercial.

Most burglaries occurred during January and February last year when there was a series of similar crimes in neighboring Encinitas. Scaramella said the incidents are continuing in the areas around Rancho Santa Fe: “At my last meeting with the sheriff’s department they told me the reason why it probably dropped in Rancho Santa Fe is because of the Patrol, we’re out there all the time.”

Injury collisions are down slightly with 16 accidents compared to 22 in 2021. There were 67 non-injury collisions and while the predominant factor in the collisions is speed, Scaramella said this is the first time the driving under the influence numbers were this high with 13 incidents attributed to impaired driving.

In 2022, the Patrol received 3,554 calls for service, a slight decrease from the prior year. In the newly updated patrol cars, officers logged over 104,000 miles and performed 28,000 security checks. The average response time is now down to 5.7 minutes

To report suspicious activity contact the RSF Patrol’s non-emergency line at (858) 756-9966 or San Diego Sheriff’s Encinitas station at (760) 966-3500.

For emergencies contact the Patrol at (858) 756-9966 or call 911.