As you know there have been a series of copper wire thefts at many North County parks, including the Scripps Ranch Community Park, Spring Canyon Park, and Stonebridge Park. While the thefts started back in May and have been on and off for months, we were hit hard in November. As of press time, 10 facilities have been hit, some more than once.
The thefts have been costly in terms of lost public use, replacement cost, and staff time. The thefts have shut down our parks' security and field lights, leading us to be unable to use the parks after dark. Also, irrigation systems have been affected. As of press time, some parks were still without lighting. We have lost about 4,000 feet of copper wire, and our loss is estimated in the $100,000 range. The loss of recreation time is not easily calculated but has been substantial.
Action is being taken to deal with the situation, unfortunately, it's taking longer than we want. Initially city electricians were able to keep up with repairs but when we kept getting hit, there was no keeping up. After the first thefts we started investigating protecting the electrical boxes. The city has ordered special heavy gauge locking power box covers. They're not foolproof but they will help.
Since we have experienced repeated thefts at some sites, we are making repairs to security lights a priority and holding off on repairs to field lights until the protective covers arrive. If we don't get these covers soon, we'll start repairs on an at-risk basis and use additional vendors for the covers. We hope to have the repairs done by mid- to late January.
Capt. Chris Ball and his staff at the police department's Northeastern Division, which oversees Scripps Ranch, have been on top of the situation. A detective has been assigned to direct police efforts, and there has been stepped up patrolling at night.
You can help by keeping your eyes open for any unusual activities in our parks. Watch for two or three people hanging out with no obvious intent late at night or very early in the morning. If you see something that doesn't seem right, please call the police department's non-emergency number at 484-3154. If you see a crime in progress, call 911.
Clay Bingham, Community Parks Deputy Director
As we start the new year, we thought we would help you find who to call for various city and neighborhood services. Thanks to San Diego Police Department Community Relations Officer Susan Steffen for this list. You may want to tear it out and keep it handy.
The SRCA's Neighborhood Watch (SRCANW) program has reported information on 31 residential burglaries in Scripps Ranch via e-blasts sent to our members' by email. This number does not include the large amount of garage burglaries that continue to occur. Of those 31 home burglaries, only one was committed on a street where there was an active Neighborhood Watch group. In that instance, the burglars gained entry through an open garage door and an unlocked door into the home.
The way I look at it, the odds are good that your home is safer from burglars if you live on a street where your neighbors all keep an eye out for trouble. Many of these NW streets also have the orange "Boris the Burglar" signs announcing that neighbors are watching.
How can you be one of the more-protected 97%? Simple--get a group of neighbors together for a Neighborhood Watch block party. We provide the speaker and handouts. All you need to do is pick a date and invite your neighbors. It's easy to do and gives peace of mind.
Cheryl Shaw, SRCANW Chair
Still trying to figure out what to volunteer for? The Retired Senior Volunteer Patrol (RSVP) might be a good fit! It's not too demanding: driving or riding around in an RSVP vehicle, being a set of eyes and ears in the neighborhood, checking on the elderly and vacation homes, and basically just "looking." You must be 50 years or older, retired or semi-retired, and have a valid California driver's license. There is a background check and a 40-hour training session. You volunteer 3 days a month.
We recently purchased rain gear for our volunteers. We have 16 sets of varying sizes. The cost for these was $2,056. If you cannot volunteer, we appreciate any donations to help offset this expense.
Pat Clark, RSVP Board Member
Recently the city did a routine speed study on Sunset Ridge Drive. The study resulted in the recommendation by city staff to increase the speed limit. Working with the Scripps Ranch Planning Group, my office demanded the city not raise the speed limit. We quickly received a response from the city stating the speed limit would not be altered.
Councilmember Carl DeMaio
Happy New Year from the Scripps Ranch Fire Safe Council's (SRFSC) 11-member board of directors. We have some suggestions for New Year's resolutions that may save lives and homes.
1. We will check our homeowners insurance. For questions, go to [www.uphelp.org]. United Policyholders is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that is an information resource and voice for insurance policyholders. They are dedicated to help the public acquire adequate insurance and deal with insurance companies when filing claims. UPs contribution to the recovery of wildfire victims in Scripps Ranch, Rancho Bernardo, and elsewhere in San Diego County have been heroic. Their services are free.
2. We will check our fire extinguishers. An extinguisher for each floor is recommended. If you have a rechargeable unit that needs servicing, you can recharge or replace it. Recharging can be a hassle. New ABC-rated single-use extinguishers are inexpensive, easy to use, lightweight, and guaranteed for six to 10 years. They're available at your favorite home supply store.
3. We will check our smoke alarms. It's recommended you replace batteries every six months. Most smoke alarms will chirp when the battery is low. The problem is that half the alarms in urban areas such as ours have dead batteries. In August we reported that the Burn Institute has a new project to equip homes of seniors with high-tech smoke alarms at no cost. Seventy-five percent of seniors who die in house fires do not have a working smoke alarm. For residents 55 or older who own their home, the Burn Institute will install new alarms and inspect and replace batteries in existing units. Strobe light smoke alarms for the hearing impaired are available. As of Dec. 1, 109 systems have been installed in Scripps Ranch. You can take advantage of this offer by calling the Burn Institute at 541-2277, ext. 13.
You can recycle your Christmas tree once again at the Scripps Ranch Community Park located at 11454 Blue Cypress Drive. The recycling program is available now through Monday, Jan. 23. Flocked trees--those with fake snow--are accepted. Please remove all tree stands, lights, ornaments, and other tree decorations. Artificial trees are not accepted. Please do not dump other items at the recycling locations; it is illegal to do so. For more information on recycling, please call 694-7000 or visit [www.recyclingworks.com].
In addition, you may leave your tree at your curb on the week the greenery recycling truck comes by. Please be sure all ornaments and decorations have been removed from your tree.
On Sunday, Jan. 15, the Animal Rescue Resource Foundation (ARRF), a nonprofit organization, will hold an adoption event from 11 am to 3 pm at Unleashed at Petco, located at 10625 Scripps Poway Parkway. Dogs will be available for adoption; they are all micro-chipped, altered, and up to date on vaccinations. Landlord approval is required for renters. Come and meet your forever friend! For details, call 619-504-9950 or visit [www.arrf.cc].