Sheriff: Crime rates drop in Solana Beach

Sheriff: Crime rates drop in Solana Beach
Based on statistics from October 2016 through October 2017, violent crimes such as rape, robbery and assault overall dropped 23 percent in the city. Stock photo

SOLANA BEACH — Crime is down in the county’s second smallest city, thanks in part to increased patrol and resident involvement and vigilance, sheriff’s Capt. John Maryon reported at the Nov. 8 City Council meeting.

Based on statistics from October 2016 through October 2017, violent crimes such as rape, robbery and assault overall dropped 23 percent. Maryon said in a small city like Solana Beach, a couple of incidents can jar the numbers.

For example, in the case of robberies — up 150 percent to a total of three — one was an argument in front of a restaurant during which one person took something from another.

“They’re not the typical street robberies with handguns,” Maryon said.

Property crimes, which were higher than he said he would have liked when he joined the station two years ago, were down 17 percent. Residential burglaries decreased 42 percent, and larceny theft, which includes items stolen from unlocked cars, dropped 37 percent.

Maryon attributed the latter to extra patrols in hot-spot areas and public service announcements reminding people to lock their car doors and hide valuables left in vehicles.

The captain also credited the drop in crime to better analyses. He said some departments look at statistics monthly. The North Coastal station went to weekly.

“But we were still behind,” he said.

Rather than “going around blindly and being in certain areas at certain times,” Maryon said his crime analyst, on an almost daily basis, now focuses on where officers need to be based on where the crimes are “to look for trends to get ahead of them quickly.”

The department has broken the city into quadrants using Interstate 5 and Lomas Santa Fe Drive as the dividers. Most calls for service — 2,628 of the nearly 3,400 — were west of the freeway.

There were 1,902 in the southwest quadrant of the city, 726 in the northwest quadrant, 394 in the northeast and 376 in the southeast.

The Fletcher Cove area is a major hot spot, he said.

The top 10 calls for service were false audible alarms. Of those, 292 were residential and 271 were commercial. Maryon said that was “a slight drain on resources … but we understand that happens.”

The second highest calls for service at 286 were suspicious person reports.

Maryon said he is somewhat proud of that statistic because it tells him the public is taking immediate action and reporting the problem rather than finding out about it from neighbors or on a website.

In general, he said response times have been pretty consistent over the years.

Law enforcement was on the scene in about five minutes for the 11 priority one calls during the past year. Officers responded to the 468 priority twos in less than 10 minutes.

Response time for the 1,716 priority three calls was just under 15 minutes. Responding to the 1,197 priority fours decreased a little to about 46 minutes.

Maryon will be at Starbucks in the Solana Beach Towne Centre west of the freeway on Dec. 7 for Coffee with the Captain. Call the city at (858) 720-2400 or the Sheriff’s Department at (760) 966-3500 for more information.

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