Bird Rock Council addresses crime, planned wine shop for La Jolla area

As neighbors in La Jolla’s communities continue to gather to discuss crime prevention and exchange information — such as in WindanSea and the Country Club area — the Bird Rock Community Council (BRCC) also took up the issue during its monthly meeting Feb. 2 at Bird Rock Elementary School. The community has a strong and longstanding Neighborhood Watch program, and receives regular reports from police and the Neighborhood Watch chair.

“During the holidays, we had a few packages stolen from front porches, but that’s to be expected,” the Neighborhood Watch chair said. “It happens all over the city and the county — people follow the delivery trucks and when they see someone doesn’t answer their door, they take their packages.”

More recently, she said, “smash and grabs” with thieves breaking car windows to steal the items inside — specifically garage door openers — has occurred.

To avoid this, she advised, “Leave valuables out of sight and if you have a garage door opener, remove it from your car (or hide it). Thieves will break into your car, take the garage door opener and then later use it to get into your garage. If you have your garage attached to your house, make sure the door that connects the garage to your house is locked. Don’t assume because your garage is closed your house is safe.”

Bike thefts and casing neighborhoods — when criminals watch a house for times when occupants go to work or run errands — were also discussed. The day of the BRCC meeting, several reports of someone casing the neighborhood were received. The Neighborhood Watch chair gave a description of the suspects, and said when they arrived at her house, they said they were “selling carpets.” Another attendee announced that when they arrived at his house, they said they were “representing a church.”

“Anyone going door-to-door, besides Girl Scouts or expected service workers (cable, AT&T, etc.) has to have a permit,” said the Neighborhood Watch Chair. “Such thieves are coming around and want to know if you are home, if you have a dog, if you leave valuables near the front door and so on. They are looking for small electronics, cash, jewelry and other items that can fit in their pockets.”

Regarding bike thefts, which she called “crimes of opportunity,” she said one of the biggest problems is people do not write their bicycle serial numbers down and “You have to have that number, register it and take a photo of the bike to prove it belongs to you. So many people don’t get their bikes back because they cannot prove it’s theirs.”

In other Bird Rock news:

• Wine shop sets opening: LJ Crafted Wines owner Lowell Jooste was at the meeting to showcase a display he is considering for the front of the wine shop he plans to open later this month at 5621 La Jolla Blvd. Designed by surfboard artist Tim Bessell, the 12- by 16-foot L-shaped installation features wine being poured from a horizontal bottle into a vertical glass. Jooste said LJ Crafted Wines will sell varietals made in Napa Valley “tapped” straight from the barrel and served by the glass in refillable growlers. An unexpected hiccup in city permitting has delayed the opening by several months.

“One month into construction, with several permits in hand, the city said you can only continue if you make the sidewalk fronting the business ADA-compliant,” he said. This meant rebuilding the sidewalk to ease the transition into the store. In the meantime, wooden scaffolding has gone up to provide a consistent walkway for pedestrians. He said the sidewalk work would not impede the planned opening.

• New council president: Taking the reigns from outgoing president Jacqueline Bell, Andy Ward assumed his role of 2016 president of the Bird Rock Community Council.

• Congress events in town: Congressmember Scott Peters’ rep Kiera Galloway announced a Scam Stoppers Seminar for senior citizens 10 a.m. Wednesday, Feb. 24 at Casa de Manana, 849 Coast Blvd., and a district office open house, 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 17 at 4350 Executive Drive.

— Bird Rock Community Council meets 6 p.m. first Tuesdays at various area businesses.

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