Police meet with Bird Rockers to address crime spike

Members of the Bird Rock Community Council and police address a recent rash of theft, vandalism and motel violence in Bird Rock during a forum on Jan. 29. Pat Sherman

To Report a Crime
■ Emergency (imminent danger or crime in progress): 911
■ Non-emergency: (619) 531-2000 or (858) 552-1700 (SDPD Northern Division, Tuesday-Friday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. only)
■ Non-emergency online reporting: sandiego.gov/police/crimereports/startaccess.html
Bird Rock Neighborhood Watch Facebook page: Click here

By Pat Sherman

More than 50 Bird Rock residents met with San Diego Police at Bird Rock Elementary School Jan. 29 to discuss the recent rash of vandalism and other crimes in their community — including motel shootings, bicycle thefts and eggs being thrown at cars and houses along Beaumont Avenue and adjacent streets.

Police Detective Brigita Belz said a group of Bird Rock teens aged 14-17 possessing a large quantity of eggs were reported to police and interviewed the night of Saturday, Jan. 4 — though they had not thrown the eggs and were not arrested. Instead, officers conducted a field report and spoke with their parents.

Police believe they are not the responsible party in egg vandalism that occurred in Bird Rock Saturday, Jan. 18.

“We got a lot of compliance from the parents of that group, so we don’t think that they’re going to be out doing it again,” SDPD community relations officer Larry Hesselgesser said.

Asked about shootings in August and December of 2013 at the Biltmore Motel in the 5300 block of La Jolla Boulevard, Ernesto Servin, a detective sergeant with San Diego Police’s Northern Division, said a detective and prosecutor are working both cases.

“We’re going to continue to pressure the management of the Biltmore, investigate the cases and use the district attorney’s office to prosecute,” Servin said. “A lot of the people who stay there are transient and that’s a problem here in this community.”

Bird Rock Community Council (BRCC) member Michelle Fulks said when residents report fights or yelling at the establishment it gives police “probable cause to go see what’s going on,” and alert management “that they need to clean up their act.”

Police and BRCC representatives urged those in attendance to report all crimes, no matter how insignificant they may seem — whether an aggressive solicitor at the door or a suspicious vehicle.

Such non-emergency crimes can be reported by phoning (619) 531-2000, or online at SanDiego.gov/police by clicking on the “Report Emergencies” or “Report Non-Emergencies” tab on the lower right side of the homepage.

When reporting a crime, it is important to get an incident number so police can follow up later.

“If you do not make that report, even though you’ve called the police, there’s nothing that the police can do about it. Their hands are tied,” Fulks said.

Reporting crime helps police assure a community is patrolled commensurately, Fulks said.

“If we ever are allotted more money for police officers, they’re going to put more money where the crimes are,” she said. “So, if someone is in our neighborhood and they’re breaking into cars, even though they didn’t take anything, you still (want to) report that.”

Officer Hesselgesser urged those in attendance to be vigilant, recording license plate numbers of suspicious vehicles, and the direction in which they are traveling.

“Video cameras are especially key in these types of incidents because we can get the make of a car,” he said. “Sometimes we have somebody we’re keeping an eye on and we might just see the car and know that car is associated with that person.”

Home surveillance systems have gone down in price considerably, Hesselgesser said, noting that a six-camera system can be purchased for around $1,000 installed.

“You can look at that from anywhere in the country, from, say, your iPad,” he said.

Hesselgesser has heard of surveillance systems that photograph whoever is at the front door and immediately send a photo of that person to the homeowner’s smartphone.

Solicitors selling candy and trinkets in the neighborhood are often casing homes. Police urge residents not to give them money, and preferably, not to answer the door.

“If you feel it’s harassment, if they’re casing your home, watch them as they walk away,” Fulks said. “Call the non-emergency line. Pay attention to the direction that they travel, what they are wearing (and whether) they are with someone else.”

One resident noted at least a dozen high-end bicycle thefts and numerous “smash-and-grab” vehicle burglaries at a condominium complex at 5726 La Jolla Blvd. that residents were not reporting to police.

When police recover bicycles, often the owners don’t get them back because they did not write down the serial number beforehand, Hesselgesser said.

“They end up in impound with the department and then they get sold off at auction,” he said, suggesting that bicycle owners also etch a small identifier in the frame, such as their driver’s license number, and photograph it for identification purposes.

To prevent home burglaries, keep side gates locked at all times, Hesselgesser said. Combination locks can be used to allow access to pool maintenance crews or other approved workers during the day.

As a crime deterrent in the dimly lit, largely isolated community, Fulks suggested all residents leave their porch lights on at night, add a peep hole to their front door and make sure home address numbers are clearly visible for police and other emergency responders.

Rummaging through curbside trash is illegal, and should be reported. While trash is a prime target for identity thieves, it may also contain empty boxes that alert criminals to new electronic devices in a home.

One woman said she sent a suspicious vehicle on its way by merely walking up to it, inquiring why it was there and letting the driver know that the community has an active and engaged community watch program — a form of vigilance Hesselgesser encouraged.

“They don’t like you, Ms. Nosy neighbor with the dog, asking what they’re doing here,” he said.

Related posts:

  1. ‘Bird Rock Bandit’ misses arraignment on domestic violence charge
  2. Updated: masked man who robbed La Jolla pharmacy dies in apparent suicide
  3. Man pistol-whipped, shot in hand at La Jolla motel
  4. La Jolla Crime Report Feb. 6-10
  5. La Jolla crime report: Oct. 2-8

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Posted by Pat Sherman on Feb 4, 2014. Filed under La Jolla, News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

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