San Diego Police working to address issues with young Carmel Valley teens


The San Diego Police Department is preparing to increase patrols and enforcement in response to reports of young teenagers misbehaving and causing disruptions in Carmel Valley, particularly at Del Mar Highlands Town Center.

(File photo)

Carmel Valley resident Andrea Mintz said on Sunday, Oct. 24 she was sitting at the Highlands Starbucks with a friend when a group of middle school-age kids were riding their electric bikes on the sidewalk without helmets and riding skateboards through the plaza and on the fountain. When confronted about their behavior, Mintz said the kids shouted profanity at them and one even mooned her.

She said when she spoke to security later, she was told that they had been dealing with groups of kids like this for several months. When she posted about the incident on Nextdoor, others chimed in with similar experiences such as younger kids running through the aisles of Rite Aid and Ralphs throwing items off shelves and even shoplifting.

Mintz was left to wonder: are Carmel Valley’s middle school students out of control?

The San Diego Police Department’s Northwestern Divisions said they are aware of community reports regarding disruptive behavior at the Del Mar Highlands Town Center by a group of teenagers.

“Police are working with the local schools and businesses to identify specific individuals who might have committed criminal acts to foster accountability and stop this concerning behavior,” said Sgt. Ariel Savage of the media services unit of the San Diego Police Department. “Police are working with the property owners of Del Mar Highlands Town Center to obtain a ‘Letter of Agency’, which will allow officers to better address these issues.”

Savage said officers are also working with local schools, parents, and businesses on a community plan to prevent and resolve any future issues. In the meantime, officers will be conducting extra patrol during lunchtime and after school.

“We serve as a community hub, serving everyone, including local families with teenagers. We’re happy to be the go-to for everything from lunch or shopping to the movies,” said Tim Sullivan, property manager of Del Mar Highlands Town Center in a statement. “Our trained security team works to ensure our right of ways are open, safe, and accessible for our customers. When issues arise such as skateboarding or electric bikes in the right of way, our security team diligently acts to preserve safe conditions and works closely with the San Diego Police Department.

“With regards to shoplifting, as individual retailers, each has a very specific loss prevention program. As a center, we partner with SDPD for overarching crime prevention guidance, offering full support to our retailers.”

Other issues involving younger teens were also raised during the Oct. 28 Carmel Valley Community Planning Board meeting. Dan Curran, a planning board member and vice president at Coast Income Properties which owns the Village at Pacific Highlands Ranch, said there have been similar incidents at the Village where middle school-age kids have been disrespectful of both people and property.

“Many of them have been very, very rude to customers and to security,” said Curran of the kids. “It’s not all of them, it’s just a few of them but they give everybody a bad name. The more police presence we can get, the better.”

Ricky Flahive, the community representative for District 1 Councilmember Joe LaCava, said that their office has also received constituent complaints about a proliferation of litter on the pedestrian path behind Carmel Valley Middle School, as well as reports of kids throwing rocks at houses near the pathway. One local resident who runs a Carmel Valley litter clean-up group said the area has turned into a dumping ground for trash.

Flahive said he has put in requests with the city for a trash can and no littering signs to be placed in the area to act as a deterrent.