RANCHO SANTA FE — Due to a rise in burglaries in Rancho Santa Fe in the past six months, it bears repeating: “When you leave home, lock your doors and turn on the alarm,” said Matt Wellhouser, chief of the Rancho Santa Fe Patrol.
“People need to be a little more aware and a little more diligent.”
Many times, the victims are making it very easy for the thieves. “Two thirds of the time, they are walking right in,” he said.
Wellhouser said between January and June, there were 27 burglaries.
“That is a lot for this community,” he said.
Two of the burglaries were from vehicles and the rest were burglaries of houses, he said.
“About 37 percent of those burglaries were forced entries. In 63 percent, they go into a door that is not locked,” he said.
Wellhouser said a group of thieves is suspected of the burglaries and an investigation continues.
“They are taking electronics and jewelry,” Wellhouser said.
He said that much of the jewelry is sitting out on counters or dressers in the homes.
“People who are victims of crime catch on really quickly that locking the door is the first step in deterring burglars,” he said.
“A lot of our crime is opportunistic,” he said. “If you take the opportunity away, then we wouldn’t have as much crime. That is one leg of the little stool, to a large degree.”
Also, residents should be aware of anyone coming to the door selling something like magazines.
“All door-to-door vendors have to have a license that is visible and backed up by other identification,” he said.
That rule does not apply to Boy & Girls Scouts and church groups, he said.
He said that the burglars may pose as door-to-door salespeople or someone looking for work, but when they knock and no one answers, they could just go around to the back door and enter the home.
Wellhouser said residents should listen to their intuition.
“If something seems suspicious, it probably is,” he said.
Residents should be aware of people or vehicles that seem out of place in their neighborhoods, or if a suspicious vehicle is pulling out of a neighbor’s driveway. And, time is of the essence.
“Don’t wait two days to call. Call us right away. By not waiting, we can catch people in the act around the area,” he said.
“Most of the burglaries are during the day time and that is typical because people are away from home,” he said.
Rancho Santa Fe is not the only area experiencing a rise in burglaries recently. Surrounding areas, including Encinitas and Solana Beach, have also been dealing with more than the average number of burglaries, Wellhouser said.
So, said Wellhouser, when you leave home, even if for just a short time, lock your doors, turn on your alarms, lock up your jewelry if you have a safe and if you see suspicious activity, tell somebody.
Don’t hesitate to call 911 or (858) 756-4372, 24 hours a day, Wellhouser said.