In light of a couple of well-publicized residential burglaries in Carmel Valley neighborhoods, San Diego Police Department Northwestern Division’s Community Relations Officer Trevor Philips spoke out about local crime at the Carmel Valley Community Planning Board’s meeting on Aug. 24.
Philips said he received a number of emails from concerned residents that they no longer felt safe in their neighborhoods.
“There’s a false perception that there’s an increase of crime in Carmel Valley,” Philips said. “We all live in a really, really safe community. Carmel Valley is very, very safe.”
According to Philips, there has been a 26 percent decrease of crime in Carmel Valley over the last three months compared to the same stretch in 2016.
“While crime is down overall there is the perception of an uptick in a couple of neighborhoods,” said Steven Hadley, a representative for Councilmember Barbara Bry.
Hadley said Bry has received calls from many Carmel Valley residents and has asked the San Diego Police Department to bring in more officers, which will be a decision made by the police chief and the command. Hadley said anytime a resident’s home is burglarized it is “traumatic” and the police take it very seriously, as does Councilmember Bry.
Philips said the perception that there is an increase of crime is due to the use of technology and social media sites, both a “blessing and a curse.” As of a few years ago, there were no neighborhood Facebook groups or Nextdoor groups. Now, thanks to social media, Philips said people are more aware of every incident that occurs in their community.
“If a house was burglarized in your neighborhood you might not have known — now if someone comes to knock on your door, it’s on Nextdoor,” Philips said. “The crime has always been there, it’s just now everybody knows about it.”
Philips said the Northwestern Division has decided to reach out to the news more and sent out press releases on the two recent home burglaries as they had great video footage. The increased attention has paid off as the department is reviewing 170 emails they have received from the releases.
One of the challenges the division faces is that it is a very large division — they are responsible for patrolling 41.6 square miles from Via de la Valle to Miramar, from the beach out to 4S Ranch with just four officers.
Philips said it is a difficult task and the police department needs the community’s help: “If you see something, say something”.
Community meeting on Carmel Valley crime on Sept. 7
The Pacific Highlands Ranch Neighborhood Watch group and Councilmember Bry’s office is holding a special meeting in conjunction with the Northwestern Division of the San Diego Police Department on Thursday, Sept. 7 at 6 p.m. The meeting, held at the West Highlands Community Recreation Center at 5950 Blazing Star Lane, 92130, will be a community roundtable to address the best ways to deter crime in the neighborhood. Topics of discussion will include the recent Carmel Valley home burglaries, suspicious activity in the community as well as traffic issues. A coyote expert from Critter Gritters will also be in attendance to inform neighbors how to keep pets safe.
The meeting will also be a chance to learn more about creating a Neighborhood Watch in your neighborhood.
For more information, contact Aaron Johnson with the PHR Neighborhood Watch group at firstname.lastname@example.org
Contact the Northwestern Division at (858) 523-7000 or Officer Philips at TTPhilips@pd.sandiego.gov