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Rash of crimes spurs community meeting

ENCINITAS — In response to an increase in the number of crimes in the city, a community meeting will be held April 21. The Sheriff’s Department’s crime prevention unit is sponsoring the event.
Cardiff-by-the-Sea resident Laura Basacchi said the recent wave of crime is alarming. “I think there is a veil of secrecy of this (crime),” she said.
On March 17, a home invasion occurred at Emmy Garnica’s home on Manchester Avenue. “I think living in this area we tend to think we don’t have to pay attention to our security,” Garnica said. “It ain’t true.”
Garnica’s partner was home when the intruders robbed the house. “I’ve lived here since 1976,” she said. “This is the worst thing to happen around here in a long time.”
Councilwoman Teresa Barth, who lives in Cardiff-by-the-Sea, said that recent criminal events might have an impact on people’s behavior. “This is so out of the norm for our community,” she said. “It is scary.”
“It’s of great concern to me,” Barth said. “We’ve had a rash of petty thefts lately.”
Neal Shepard, an Encinitas resident, said he has seen changes in the amount of crime over his 20 years living in the city. “Long gone are the days when you can park your truck and leave your (surf) boards in the bed and expect to find them there when you get back,” he said. “But I think our (residents’) mentality hasn’t changed with the reality of the increase in crime. We still leave our doors unlocked and assume the best about people.”
“It’s partially a sign of the economic times,” Barth said of the increase in crime. “It’s important that people know how they can secure their own home and how they can get in contact with the Sheriff’s Department,” Barth said.
Crime prevention specialist Heather Clark said that prevention is the most effective way to combat crime. “One of the best prevention methods is a Neighborhood Watch program,” she said.
“Part of the success of the program is that neighbors are working together and in conjunction with the Sheriff’s Department to mutually assist each other,” Clark said.
“I certainly urge everyone with an interest in the subject to attend the meeting,” Barth said.
The meeting will be held on Tuesday, April 21 at 6:30 p.m. in the Encinitas Community Center Banquet Hall at 1140 Oak Crest Drive.