With sometimes confusing jurisdictions in the city, community members got a rare chance to ask questions and share their concerns with officials from both the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department and the San Diego Police Department during a joint safety meeting May 31 at the Del Mar TV Studio.
“Some people don’t even know who they’re supposed to call,” noted Del Mar resident Ira Sharp, who helped organize the meeting.
More than 80 residents attended the meeting, where law enforcement officers offered advice and various crime prevention tips to the community. Living within the 92014 zip code, some of the attendees came from the city of Del Mar while many others came from Del Mar Heights.
Officials clarified that the Sheriff’s Department serves the city of Del Mar, while the San Diego Police Department serves Del Mar Heights. They noted that the street signs can be a helpful way to distinguish between the two areas.
In most cases, streets with green signs are in the Sheriff’s Department jurisdiction and streets with blue or white signs are in the San Diego Police Department’s jurisdiction.
Residents can contact the Sheriff’s Department at 760-966-3500, and the San Diego Police Department Northwestern Division at 858-523-7000 or dispatch at 619-531-2000. If you call 911, your call will automatically be routed to the correct department. Dialing 911 from a cell phone will also connect you with the correct department.
Still, officials assured community members that both departments work together. The San Diego County Sheriff’s North Coastal Station, which serves Del Mar, Solana Beach, Encinitas and unincorporated areas such as Rancho Sante Fe, has monthly meetings that representatives from the San Diego Police Department attend.
“The crooks don’t have jurisdictions, so they really don’t care,” said John Maryon, captain of San Diego County Sheriff’s North Coastal Station. “They hit different areas and they don’t think that we communicate, but we do communicate. We do have a high success rate of getting these guys into custody.”
Most crimes in the city of Del Mar and Del Mar Heights, officials said, are “crimes of opportunity.”
The vast majority of thefts occur from unlocked cars and houses. “Carfishing” occurs in all neighborhoods, particularly in the beach area, where purses, wallets and keys are left in sight or frequent hiding places and attract criminals.
“If you’re going to leave your Louis Vuitton on the front seat, there’s a good chance it’s not going to be there when you get back. If you’re going to leave your laptop in view, there’s a good chance it’s not going to be there when you get back,” said Sheriff’s Detective Sgt. Rich Eaton. “It’s the time we’re in right now. We keep arresting people and more people show up to thieve. They’re not from here. They come through town quickly. They’re either on foot or on a bike, and they’re going to take anything that’s accessible.”
The most important piece of advice, officials said, is to lock your car and lock your house. The vast majority of thefts occur from unlocked cars and houses. Also don’t leave valuables in your car. Leaving valuables in plain sight in a car is an invitation to theft.
Residents should also lock the windows of their home, garage doors and any gates. Also do not leave the garage door opener in your car parked in your driveway.
Additionally, officials asked residents to report anything suspicious. Also never be hesitant to call 911 if you feel you are in any danger or there is a chance a criminal may still be in the vicinity.
Be cautious of door-to-door salespeople or others who approach your door and do not live in the area. They may be impostors casing houses to see if people are home. Therefore, if someone knocks on your door and you do not know the person, do not open the door but also do not give the person the “silent treatment.”
Officers also recommended residents install and set alarms on their doors and windows, and install cameras with motion detectors.
Also consider getting a dog, which Sheriff’s deputies and police officers agreed is a great deterrent for burglars.
“It’s not going to stop anytime soon. You have to protect yourself,” Maryon said. “We can’t have an officer at every door.”