SOLANA BEACH — Major crime in the county’s second smallest city remains low, Sheriff’s Capt. John Maryon reported to council members at the June 22 meeting.
“We’re very fortunate in Solana Beach to not have a lot of violent crimes,” he said.
From January to May of this year there were no homicides, one robbery, four aggravated assaults and one rape, which Maryon said is not necessarily a stranger incident, with a person getting “pulled in the bushes.”
“It could be an 18-year-old dating a 17-year-old girl,” he said.
The 24 burglaries were more about items stolen from an open garage and not someone crawling through a window in the middle of the night, Maryon added.
He said there was a spike in thefts in late 2015 and early 2016 but thanks to increased patrolling and law enforcement visibility that problem has tapered off.
“We attacked it pretty aggressively,” he said. “We try to stay on top of that.”
Solana Beach had 1,668 calls for service during the first five months of this year, 139 less than the same time period last year.
Of those, three were priority one with an average response time of 6.8 minutes. There were 504 priority two calls that were responded to in about 9.6 minutes. There were 725 priority three calls and 436 priority fours, with average response times of 13.8 and 36.7 minutes, respectively.
Maryon said most of the traffic tickets were issued in areas where there is a high rate of collisions, such as Lomas Santa Fe Drive near the country club, near the Interstate 5 interchange and along Coast Highway.
“We don’t issue tickets to people at random,” he said. “We try to base it on where the collisions occur the most.”
One of the most prevalent problems is drug-related.
“There’s a huge problem with heroin right now,” Maryon said. “A lot of the people that we’re catching, breaking into your businesses and cars and those types of things, the majority of them have heroin on them or in their system.”
He said the criminals steal property, sell it and use the money to buy drugs, which is why signs have been installed reminding residents to lock their homes and cars.
“It’s not scare tactics,” he said. “It’s reality.”
He said in 86 percent of car thefts the vehicles were unlocked.
“The majority of these are crimes of opportunity,” Maryon said. “So take away the opportunity and they’re going to go somewhere else.”
Maryon said the thieves know the coastal area is more affluent and less cautious.
“They tell us they come here with a purpose … from Santee and San Ysidro and Fallbrook and Oceanside,” he said.
Gang activity has “been very quiet,” he added, noting that many of the Encinitas gang members have moved out of the city.