Del Mar and Solana Beach school district join forces to help prevent more crimes


By Karen Billing

After a series of burglaries at their school campuses, the Del Mar Union School District (DMUSD) and Solana Beach School District (SBSD) are teaming up in an attempt to prevent further crimes. The districts will share the cost of working with Networld Solutions, a company that specializes in video surveillance work.

Since July, DMUSD has been hit by burglars seven times, resulting in the thefts of $30,049 worth of computers and $9,672 in damages to campus buildings.

The Solana Beach School District has been hit three times in the same span, all of the incidents occurring at Solana Santa Fe School in Rancho Santa Fe and in all three incidents a total of eight computers were taken but all were recovered.

The districts will split a cost not-to-exceed $7,000 with Networld, which will develop a high level needs analysis and provide a range of solutions and costs.

“I think it’s a great way for us to join forces, considering the issues we have,” said Caroline Brown, director of technology and new facilities at SBSD of their agreement. “Maybe we can stop some of these things from happening.”

At the DMUSD’s Aug. 28 meeting, Cathy Birks, the assistant superintendent of business services, gave a report about the seven campus crimes.

On July 1, the district office was broken into. Three plate glass windows were broken and two laptops taken. The cost was $3,972 for the computers and $2,274 for the building.

On July 8, Ocean Air was broken into and three desktop computers were taken at a cost of $4,059. Damage to a broken glass exterior door and glass interior door to the computer lab cost $1,389.

On July 25, Sage Canyon was hit and eight desktop computers were stolen at a cost of $10,884 with $930 worth of damages to a broken exterior glass door.

Sage Canyon was hit again five days later on July 30 and six desktops were taken at a cost of $8,334, with $872 in building damages.

On Aug. 13, suspects broke into Del Mar Heights School but were unable to steal any computers, although they caused $1,437 worth of damage. On Aug. 17, the same kind of incident occurred at Ocean Air with no computers taken but $1,694 in damages.

The latest incident occurred on Aug. 17 at Sage Canyon with two desktops taken at a cost of $2,800, with $1,076 in damages in a broken exterior door.

Most of the incidents have occurred between 1 a.m. and 4 a.m.

The district does have insurance coverage with the San Diego County Schools Risk Management Joint Powers Authority Property and Liability Program.

Their deductibles are $200 per device with tablets and handheld devices, $500 per device for computers and projectors, and $1,000 per incident for building damages.

“The district is having to pay for these things that are occurring,” Birks said.

The district has been working with police and their investigations are ongoing. The district has also stepped up security measures, increased patrols and will investigate the replacement of doors.

At the Aug. 28 meeting, the board approved a new policy on campus security that suggests the reasonable use of surveillance cameras can help the district achieve its goals for campus security.

According to the policy, cameras shall not be placed in areas where students, staff or community members have a reasonable expectation of privacy. Sounds will not be recorded and signs will be posted that surveillance might occur.

If a community member sees something suspicious around a school campus they should call 911 or the Northwestern Division Police Department at (858) 484-3154.