By Karen Billing
There was an increase in residential burglaries in Rancho Santa Fe last year over the previous year, according to Rancho Santa Fe Patrol Chief Matt Wellhouser, who presented his annual report on Feb. 21 to the RSF Association board. While crime in Rancho Santa Fe is still low compared to other communities, there were 31 residential burglaries in the Ranch in 2012, up from 24 in 2011.
Wellhouser said they believe that the same suspects are responsible for the majority of the crimes, which involved entering through unlocked doors and stealing electronics, jewelry and cars, most notably a $250,000 Ford GT.
The suspects were arrested by the San Diego Police in August of 2012 and are expected to be sentenced to five years in prison at a March 11 hearing.
Despite the suspects being apprehended, Wellhouser stressed that many of the burglaries in the Ranch are crimes of opportunity and can be avoided. Of the 38 total residential, commercial and vehicle burglaries in 2012, only 13 were forced entry, which means that in the rest of the cases, doors or windows were not locked.
Wellhouser said in the last few weeks there have been two or three very early morning incidents where windows have been smashed. In two cases the alarms were activated and that deterred a crime from occurring. Wellhouser stressed the importance of setting alarms and keeping doors locked.
According to Wellhouser’s report, in 2012 there were seven commercial burglaries (business or construction site), up from one in 2011.
Last year the RSF Patrol also saw an 8 percent increase in calls, responding to a total of 3,209 calls for service. They drove 100,000 miles and performed 32,000 security checks of Covenant homes.
The Patrol also assisted when 110 traffic collisions occurred in RSF in 2012. Excessive speed remains the predominant factor in traffic collisions, as 49 collisions can be attributed to speed, according to Wellhouser.
Twenty-six were injury collisions, up slightly from 22 in 2011, Wellhouser reported.
RSF Association Director Larry Spitcaufsky asked Wellhouser about the spot where a 24-year-old woman was recently killed on La Granada (near Sobre Los Cerros) and wondered if there have been a lot of accidents at that spot. Spitcaufsky also asked why the county hadn’t done more to correct any possible problems at the site.
“The problem with a guardrail is that it might create a more severe accident than what it solves,” Wellhouser said, noting that guardrails can send cars back onto the road and into other traffic. “We’re concerned as well. But I don’t know if there’s an easy solution.”
Wellhouser said that collisions on Ranch roads have been steadily declining over the years, which can be attributed to increased CHP (California Highway Patrol) presence and enforcement provided by the Association’s overtime partnership.
For more information, from the latest crime log information to vacation check forms, check out the patrol’s blog at rsfpatrol.blogspot.com. For patrol dispatch call (858) 756-4372.